May 24, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The University of Connecticut baseball team erupted for 14 hits in a 7-2 win over USF in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship at Bright House Field on Wednesday night. The No. 5 Huskies improved to 30-25-1 behind a strong pitching performance from senior right-hander David Fischer (Scotia, N.Y.).
UConn will take on the top seed Louisville tomorrow night at 8:00 pm. The No. 4 Bulls dropped to 34-21 with the loss.
The Huskies scored a run in the first and another in the third to hold an early 2-1 lead. Fischer (5-6) worked out of a first and third, no out situation in the fifth to keep UConn in front. Fischer recorded a putout on a rundown between third and home, struck out a batter and made the putout at the bag on a slow tapper to senior first baseman Tim Martin (Stratford, Conn.).
Sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) led off the top of the sixth with a single to right center on the first pitch of the inning. Freshman DH Alex DeBellis (Kinnelon, N.J.) plated Verdi with a double to the gap in left center; the first Connecticut extra-base hit since the opener against Notre Dame last Thursday. DeBellis moved to third on a base hit ripped past the third baseman by redshirt-senior catcher Joe Pavone (Rochester, N.Y.) and scored on a single to center by redshirt-junior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.).
Fischer finished the game with 6.2 innings pitched, allowed eight hits and surrendered two runs, while walking two and striking out four.
Connecticut started the eighth with three consecutive hits by Pavone, junior right fielder Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.) and Ferriter to ignite a three-run inning. Ferriter doubled into the right field corner to plate Pavone with his first extra-base hit since April 17 at Fairfield. Combined, the three hitters enter the week in an 8-93 slump at the plate.
Redshirt-junior RHP Scott Oberg (Tewksbury, Mass.) came out of the bullpen with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. He recorded a strikeout for the third out of the inning and struck out two more in the ninth to close the book on his eighth save of the season.
Ferriter went 2-4 with two runs, two RBI and a stolen base. Senior third baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.) went 2-5 and drove in a pair of runs.
The 14 hits were the most for UConn since May 8 at Northeastern. The Huskies are now 5-0 against South Florida in the BIG EAST Championship. It was their first win over the Bulls this season after being swept in Tampa less than two weeks ago.