May 23, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. - UConn downed South Florida for the second time in two days as Mike Olt went 3-for-4 with two home runs to lift the Huskies over the Bulls by a score of 10-8 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. on Saturday afternoon. With the win, UConn advances to the BIG EAST Championship game for the sixth time in program history.
The Huskies will play in the 2009 title game on Sunday, May 24 against Louisville at 11:00 a.m.
With its fourth win over South Florida in 2009, UConn improves to 36-23 overall on the year.
Pierre LePage extended his hitting streak to nine games as he led off today's ballgame with his first career home run over the left center wall to give UConn an early 1-0 lead. The sophomore turned on the third pitch thrown by South Florida starter, Matt Quevedo, and picked up only the fourth home run of the season off the Bulls' righty pitcher.
A base hit by Junior Carlin followed by a walk and a base hit off the top of the wall in left field loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. Chris Rey tied the game with a line drive to right field as Carlin tagged at third to score. On the play, Jonathan Kosco was called out for leaving second base early as he was trying to tag up to advance to third.
With a runner on first, Sam Mende found the gap in left center with his 16th double of the year, which sent Todd Brazeal home. Brazeal was nailed at the plate on the play as the relay put together by the Huskies was performed perfectly to get the third out of the inning.
Sophomore Mike Olt put the Huskies on top 3-1 with a two run home run down the left field line. It was Olt's seventh homerun of the season and 17th of his career as he recorded his first hit of the postseason. Junior Peter Fatse scored on the play after walking for the 30th time this season on four straight balls.
LePage continued to attack the opposing pitching staff, recording his sixth hit in his nine at-bats of the tournament, with a single into left field to lead off the third frame. The Huskies scored for the third straight inning as sophomore Mike Nemeth singled up the middle to score LePage from second, as he moved into scoring position on a Nick Ahmed groundout.
Quevedo came out of the game after allowing the Huskies to take a 4-1 lead, as he gave up five runs and five hits in just 2.1 innings of work. Joe Cole took the hill for the Bulls and walked UConn's George Springer, his first batter faced.
Fatse recorded his 17th double of the season to score Nemeth before Olt picked up a two RBI single to put the Huskies up 7-1. The Bulls' Teddy Kaufman had Olt picked off at first but Olt was able to duck under the tag by Mende at short to reach second base.
Matt Burnett forced a walk off Kaufman to put runners on first and second for sophomore Joe Pavone, who picked up his 23rd RBI of the season with a base hit through the left side of the infield to keep the Huskies' rally going, giving UConn an 8-1 lead with five runs off five hits in the third inning.
UConn starting pitcher Greg Nappo walked Rey to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning then gave up a double to Mende before back-to-back RBI singles to Ryan Lockwood and Andrew Longley to cut UConn's lead to five runs at 8-3. South Florida recorded its fourth consecutive hit of the frame with a double into center field by Mike Consolmagno, which scored the Bulls' fourth run of the ballgame.
After the fifth hit in six straight batters, head coach Jim Penders took Nappo out of the contest after allowing eight hits, two walks and five runs in 3.1 innings of work. Freshman Scott Oberg took the hill, marking his 18th appearance of the year, as he entered the ballgame with a team-best ERA of 2.13. Oberg was able to get Koscso to ground into a double play to get out of the inning after the Bulls scored four men to cut the Huskies' lead to 8-4.
Olt recorded his second home run of the day and 18th of his career with a solo shot over the left center wall to lift UConn to a 9-5 advantage.
The Huskies' defense continued to stay solid as they recorded their fifth double play against the Bulls in the last two days, including the second of the contest as Ahmed recorded the first two outs of the fifth by stepping on second base and slinging the ball over to first. Oberg hit Mende in the back to put him on first before LePage made a spectacular play on a ground ball to get Lockwood out at first.
Fatse hit UConn's fourth home run of the day with his 11th four-bagger of the season into the left field bullpen. It was the third lead off home run for the Huskies during the contest, while UConn scored in five of seven innings played.
Dan Mahoney took the mound as Oberg left the game after 2.2 innings thrown. The freshman allowed just one hit and no runs. Three errors and a wild pitch in the seventh gave the Bulls their sixth run of the game before Mende picked up an RBI single off of the glove of a diving Ahmed up the middle, making the score 10-7.
Senior Dennis Accomando came into the game in the eighth after Mahoney allowed two runs, both unearned, and one hit, while striking out one batter. Consalmagno put down a great bunt for a hit to get on base before advancing to second on a throwing error by Accomando. Brotons forced a walk to put runners on first and second before a wild pitch by the senior put two runners in scoring position with the tying run at the plate.
Carlin grounded out to Ahmed for the second out of the frame as one run scored to make the score 10-8 before Dusty Odenbach came into the game for his third appearance in three games to relieve Accomando. Odenbach struck out Koscso swinging to get out of the inning with a two run lead.
Senior captain David Erickson took the hill in the bottom of the ninth for the Huskies as he did so a day before against the Bulls. In today's contest he retired the first two batters before Mende recorded his fourth hit of the contest to spark a ninth inning rally. Erickson was able to get Lockwood to fly out to center to end the game.
Oberg earned the win for his fourth win of the season as the Bulls' Quevedo took the loss, finishing the season with a 5-3 record. Oberg is now 4-0 on the season.
LePage went 2-for-5 with his first career home run, which led off the game for the Huskies as he added one RBI and two runs scored, while sophomore Mike Nemeth went 3-for-5 with one run scored. Olt added two home runs, one walk, five RBI and three runs scored. Fatse had two hits, three runs and two RBI and Pavone chipped in with two hits, respectively.
The Huskies will play in the 2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. against defending champion, Louisville.