May 27, 2010
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• BIG EAST Championship Central Including Bracket
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Mike Olt and Mike Nemeth both homered in today's contest but it wasn't enough as the University of Connecticut baseball team dropped a close 6-5 decision to Rutgers in BIG EAST Baseball Championship action on Thursday afternoon at Bright House Field.
With the loss, UConn's record moves to 44-13 on the year as the Huskies will fight to stay alive in the tournament with a battle against Pittsburgh on Friday, May 28 in a 4:00 p.m. contest.
Olt hit the Huskies' first home run of the postseason with a solo shot to open up the second inning to give UConn a 1-0 lead over Rutgers. For Olt, it was his team-leading 21st homer of the year and the 42nd of his career. The junior is now one away from tying Jason Grabowski's all-time record of 43 career home runs. Nemeth's blast came in the fifth inning as he helped get the Huskies to within two with his shot over the right field wall.
Rutgers (30-24) took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame as the Scarlet Knights loaded the bases with no outs. UConn starter, Matt Barnes was able to get Rutgers' Dan Betteridge to ground into a double-play as one runner scored to tie the game at one. A Husky error allowed Rutgers' second run on the board as the Scarlet Knights took their first lead of the ballgame.
Rutgers added three more runs in the third inning on four hits to take a 5-1 advantage.
The Huskies attempted to come from behind once again as freshman LJ Mazzilli doubled down the left field line to leadoff the fourth inning before scoring on a stand-up double by John Andreoli. For the sophomore, it was his 10th double of the year as UConn cut the Rutgers' lead to three runs at 5-2. Pierre LePage just missed hitting the Huskies' third straight double of the frame as Rutgers' Jarred Jiminez made a diving catch in deep center field to rob LePage of the extra base hit.
Barnes came out of the game after three innings as he allowed eight hits and six runs, five of which were earned. The sophomore also walked two batters, while striking out three. After allowing a base hit and walk in the bottom of the fourth, Barnes left the game as sophomore David Fischer took the hill for the Huskies. In the frame, Fischer was called for a balk as Rutgers added their sixth run of the contest to take a 6-2 lead.
A two-run home run by Nemeth got the game back to within two runs at 6-4 as the junior first baseman sent a line drive down the right field line for his 13th homer of the season. George Springer scored on the play after reaching base on an infield single with one out.
Springer finished the ballgame 2-for-2 with one run scored and two walks. The sophomore centerfielder is now batting 5-for-5 with three runs in the postseason. He has reached base safely in all 10 of his at-bats this tournament.
Fischer went 2.2 innings for the Huskies as he walked two and struck out two, while allowing no hits. Despite being called for a balk, Fischer had a stellar outing for the Huskies as he faced 10 batters.
Scott Oberg, who threw one inning in Wednesday's contest against Cincinnati, took the hill with two outs in the sixth. Oberg finished today's contest allowing one hit in 2.1 innings of work.
Rutgers' Dennis Hill went 4.1 innings as he allowed seven hits, four runs and four walks. The Scarlet Knights threw four pitchers in today's contest as they allowed a combined nine UConn hits and walked seven Huskies.
Doug Elliot led off the eighth inning with an infield single to mark his 11th straight contest with a hit. Joe Pavone pinch ran for Elliot before taking over the reigns as catcher as Pavone scored on an RBI groundout by LePage to cut the Rutgers' lead to one. Pavone was able to advance to third before the LePage groundout after a walk to Billy Ferriter and a sacrifice bunt by Matt Burnett.
Springer continued his solid performance in the postseason as he earned a four-pitch walk to lead off the ninth for the Huskies. After back-to-back strikeouts by Rutgers' Tyler Gebler, Mazzilli singled to right field to put runners on the corners but Gebler fought back, retiring Pavone for his third strikeout of the inning. For Gebler it was his 12th save of the season.
Barnes took the loss for the Huskies, dropping to 8-2 on the year, while Rutgers' Rob Smorol earned the win to improve to 5-1 overall after throwing 2.1 innings of work, while striking out two.
Olt finished the game with one hit and one RBI as well as three walks, while Mazzilli added two hits, including his sixth double of the season. For all 2010 BIG EAST Baseball Championship news and information, log onto www.BigEastBaseball.com.