May 19, 2011
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Two hits, including an RBI single, by LJ Mazzilli led the No. 15 UConn baseball team to a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati on Thursday night at Marge Schott Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Matt Barnes allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings as he led UConn (38-14-1, 21-4 BIG EAST) to its 38th win of the season. He also struck out six batters and walked two.
With the victory, Barnes improves to 11-3 on the year as he recorded his eighth win in BIG EAST Conference play this season. With that tally, he ties the record for most league wins in a single season. He is the first BIG EAST pitcher to reach the eight-win mark in conference games since Notre Dame's Aaron Heilman in 2001. Only three others have reached that plateau.
UConn took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning then added a run in the fourth before Cincinnati (29-24, 13-12 BIG EAST) plated its only run of the night in the bottom of the seventh frame.
In the second, UConn's Ryan Moore led off the inning with a walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tom Verdi. With no outs, Billy Ferriter followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. For the Nashua, N.H. native, it was his 17th RBI of the season.
After a Mazzilli base hit, John Andreoli reached base on a fielder's choice, which scored Ferriter from third to give UConn a two-run advantage.
Verdi reached on a throwing error in the fourth inning then stole a base before moving to third on the Bearcats' second miscue of the frame. Mazzilli then recorded his second hit of the contest, scoring Verdi to give UConn a 3-0 lead.
Will Jolin came into the ballgame after Barnes threw six innings. A base hit, walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Bearcats before James Proctor grounded out, scoring Jake Saylor from third.
Dan Feehan also took the hill for the Huskies as he threw one inning, walking two of six batters faced. Junior Kevin Vance registered his 12th save of the season as he struck out two in 1.1 innings of work.
With 20 career saves, Vance now ranks in sole possession of second place among UConn's all-time save leaders. He is two behind former Husky Mike James' mark of 22. His 12th save of the year ties David Erickson's single-season record in that category.
Thomas Gentile took the loss for the Bearcats as he went 7.2 innings, allowing five walks, six hits and three runs in his second loss of the season.
UConn will take on Cincinnati in game two of the three-game series on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.