May 22, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Mike Nemeth led off the sixth inning with a solo home run, for his fifth of the season, as the UConn baseball team defeated South Florida 4-2 in its second game of the 2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. on Friday morning.
With the victory, UConn will face the winner of the South Florida/West Virginia match-up, which is set to be played Friday night.
The Huskies improve to 35-23 on the year with the win, as they took down the Bulls for the third time this season.
Pierre LePage continued his solid outing in the championship tournament as he recorded the Huskies' first hit of Friday's ballgame with a leadoff single to center field in the bottom of the first inning.
After not capitalizing in the first and leaving two men on base, freshman George Springer led off the bottom of the fourth with his second walk of the game then advanced to third after stealing one base and using a throwing error on the play to get to the corner.
Sophomore Mike Olt recorded his fourth sacrifice fly of the year with a shot to deep left field that scored Springer to give UConn the first lead of the morning at 1-0.
Senior Matt McDonald allowed two walks, while hitting one batter in his first 4.1 innings of work before giving up his first hit of the contest with a double down the left field line by Sam Mende. Mende scored on the next pitch as Ryan Lockwood singled into left field to tie the ballgame at one.
In the bottom of the inning, Harold Brantley Jr recorded his first hit of the game with a single into left center then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt by the Bulls' starting pitcher, Shawn Sanford. The Bulls picked up two quick outs to end the inning as Brantley was stranded on second.
Nemeth gave UConn a 2-1 advantage in the sixth inning as he led off the frame with a solo home run over the right field wall for his fifth four-bagger of the season.
McDonald finished the morning with five strikeouts, two walked batters and two hit batters as he threw seven innings, while allowing just one run on three hits. Dusty Odenbach took the hill in the eighth to face the bottom of the Bulls' batting order.
After forcing a leadoff groundout by South Florida's Peter Brotons, Odenbach walked Junior Carlin before Jonathan Kosco grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Huskies scored two runs with two outs as Nemeth forced a walk then moved to third on a Springer double into left center. Nemeth was able to cross the plate on a wild pitch by Sanford before Springer scored the Huskies' fourth run of the contest on a Fatse single into center field.
Sanford threw 7.2 innings, while allowing four runs, three earned, and five hits as he struck out six Huskies before Joe Cole came in for relief and recorded a strikeout to end the inning. Sanford took the loss falling to 5-4 on the year.
Senior David Erickson came into the contest in the ninth to close out the game for the Huskies as he allowed two walks and one hit to load the bases after two quick outs early in the inning. Lockwood recorded his second RBI single of the game to cut the UConn lead to two as Chris Rey scored the Bulls' second run of the contest.
Erickson forced a groundout to first to end the ballgame en route to his 11th save of the season. McDonald earned the win on the day, marking his fifth of the year.
In other championship action, Cincinnati was the first team to be eliminated on Wednesday afternoon as Pittsburgh followed with a 20-8 loss to West Virginia in seven innings on Thursday.
The Huskies are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, May 23 in a 10:00 a.m. contest between the winner of the USF/West Virginia game. Game time is subject to changed.
For more information and updates go to www.BIGEASTBaseball.com.