June 1, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Redshirt sophomore Jordan Tabakman hurled nine innings, scattering eight hits and yielding only three runs while junior shortstop Tom Verdi went 3-for-6 but the Huskies comeback bid fell short in extra innings as the University of Connecticut baseball team dropped a 5-3 decision to No. 2 seed Oklahoma in 12 innings on Saturday evening in Blacksburg, Va.
UConn will now square-off against No. 1 seed Virginia Tech in an elimination game on Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast via the world wide web on ESPN3.com, WTIC.com and on the radio at 91.7 WHUS FM.
Oklahoma took the lead for good with two runs in the 12th. Craig Aikin led things off with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt by Jack Mayfield and advanced to third after a wild pitch. Max White then hit a liner that grazed off of Billy Ferriter’s glove and got by him for a run-scoring triple.
The Sooners would tack on another run on a ground ball but Butler limited the damage to two runs when Matt Oberste was caught stealing and Anthony Hermelyn struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch.
The Huskies would not go quietly in the bottom half though as senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single by Siena. Melley, who is 5-for-10 during the NCAA Tournament, lined into a double play to third.
Tabakman was outstanding for the Huskies, hurling a career-high nine innings and giving up only four hits over his final eight innings. At one point, the righty retired 13 of 14 Sooners. Sophomore David Mahoney came in and threw 1.1 scoreless innings over the 10th and 11th innings. Butler slipped to 3-2 on the season after he gave up two runs on two hits in 1.2 innings.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first, UConn held the Sooner offense at bay and clawed back to tie it in the eighth. Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Billy Ferriter led off the frame by reaching and advancing to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. After Mazzilli grounded out to short, Vinny Siena drew a walk and both Siena and Ferriter moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch.
Bobby Melley got the job done on the next pitch as he hit an RBI grounder to second, scoring Ferriter and tying the game up at three.
UConn put runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the 10th after Melley walked on four pitches but Max McDowell grounded out sharply to short to end the threat.
OU had a great chance to take the lead in extra innings in the 11th. Hector Lorenzana led off the inning with a walk but David Mahoney answered that by striking out Anthony Hermelyn on a 3-2 pitch. Back-to-back singles off Mahoney loaded the bases with one out and head coach Jim Penders went to Pat Butler, who promptly induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the Sooner threat.
Oklahoma struck early and scored three runs in the first frame, all with two outs. Lorenzana and Hermelyn each hit RBI singles through the right side before Tabakman ended the threat with a strikeout of Kolbey Carpenter.
The Huskies answered immediately though as Tom Verdi and Billy Ferriter led off the game with back-to-back singles and then pulled off a double-steal to put runners on second and third with no outs. LJ Mazzilli ripped a 3-1 pitch to left but OU left fielder Craig Aikin robbed Mazzilli of extra bases with a tough running catch. The steal by Ferriter, UConn’s all-time steals leader, was the 99th of his career.
Tabakman settled in after the first and gave up only three hits over the next three innings. The Sooners threatened with runners on first and third with one out in the top of the fourth and second and third nobody out in the fifth but the righty was able to pitch out of both jams without giving up a run.
UConn cut the lead in half in the sixth. Verdi led off the inning with his third hit of the game and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ferriter. Verdi then advanced to third when Mazzilli flied out to right and scored a clutch single up the middle from Verdi.
A>Bobby Melley single and a Max McDowell walk would load the bases for Jon Testani. Testani worked the count to 3-1 but Ralph Garza, who replaced OU starter Dillon Overton during Testani’s at bat, fouled out to the catcher.
#2 Oklahoma vs. #4 Connecticut Game Notes
- Billy Ferriter grabbed his 26th stolen base of the season, giving him 99 during his career at UConn, which extends his own program record. It is Ferriter’s 5th theft in NCAA Tournament action.
- After giving up three first inning runs tonight, Connecticut has now been outscored 51-39 this season in the first frame. UConn is now 10-15 when its opponent scores in the first.
- Jordan Tabakman’s nine innings of work mark a career-high for the RS-Sophomore. The righty’s ERA now sits a 2.57 this season.
- Connecticut has a .667 winning percentage (26-13) when committing one or fewer errors compared to just a .391 winning percentage (9-14) when committing two or more errors.
- LJ Mazzilli was held hitless for just the 2nd time in 12 career NCAA Tournament games. He did add his 11th RBI in tournament action with a first inning sacrifice fly.
- Connecticut falls to 3-3 this season in extra innings. For the Huskies, tonight’s contest marked the third game that reached at least 12 innings (1-1 record in previous two).
- After earning an 8-7 victory against then-ranked #22 Oklahoma in 2012, the Huskies fall to 1-1 all-time against the Sooners.
- The Huskies are just 8-22 when getting out-hit by their opponents