Feb. 28, 2013
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STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut makes its third trip to the "Sunshine State" in as many weeks to compete in the Bright House Invitational Tournament hosted by Stetson University. The Huskies' weekend begins with a 1:00 pm first pitch against Ohio State.
About the Huskies... UConn is 3-3 after winning back-to-back games at the Wawa's Weekend Classic, hosted by UCF last weekend. The Huskies put together a season-best 15 hits, including three home runs, in a 13-8 win over Troy. Through six games, sophomore left fielder Eric Yavarone leads the team with a .385 batting average and five RBI. Senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli is second in average at .345 and tied for the team lead with six runs scored. On the mound, redshirt-sophomore RHP Carson Cross is 1-0 with a 2.77 earned run average and team-leading 11 K's.
Last Time vs. Ohio State... UConn fell to OSU, 9-5, in six innings in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge finale in Clearwater, Fla., last February. The Huskies put three runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game 4-4. The Buckeyes responded with a five-run sixth against the Connecticut bullpen to go up 9-4. Josh Dezse went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a HR for Ohio State. For UConn, Anthony Marzi struck out five in 4.2 innings in his first collegiate start.
Nine Isn't Enough... UConn defeated Texas Tech, 1-0, in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon. It was the second extra-inning win of the season and sixth in a row. In the top of the 11th, redshirt-senior center fielder Billy Ferriter lifted a fly ball to left and scored sophomore right fielder Jon Testani from third on a sacrifice-fly for the go-ahead run. Redshirt-sophomore right-hander Jordan Tabakman came on in relief and nailed down his first career save.
Mr. February... Despite a loss and a no-decision in his first two starts, junior lefty Brian Ward has proven to be extremely effective in the month of February. He owned a 2.08 ERA with nine strikeouts in 13 innings last month. In four career starts during February, Ward is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 17 K's in 27.1 innings of work.
Early Season Swing... For the second straight year, Eric Yavarone is off to a hot start through the season's first two weekends. Through the first six games of the 2012 and 2013 season, he has combined to hit .391 (18-for-46), two HRs and eight RBI.
Let's Play 15!... Freshman Bryan Daniello made his collegiate debut as a pinch-runner against Indiana (Feb. 16) and soon advanced to third on one wild pitch and then scored the go-ahead run on another. Senior righty Dan Feehan, who came on in the 14th with two on and one out, finished the game to earn the win, 4-3, in 15 innings. It was the longest game for Connecticut since a 2-2, 16-inning tie against Holy Cross on March 22, 2011. Junior shortstop Tom Verdi stole a career-high three bases and scored a pair of runs.
Bullpen Bagels... The Husky bullpen has tossed 21 scoreless innings of the 27.2 collective innings pitched. As a unit, the bullpen owns a 3.25 ERA, compared to a 5.67 ERA by opposing relievers. Senior RHP Ryan Moore and redshirt-sophomore LHP David Mahoney each own a 0.00 ERA in four innings and have combined for 10 strikeouts. In extra-inning games, the bullpen has thrown 13 innings, given up six hits, struck out 10 and allowed zero runs.
TWI(UConn)B History... Connecticut earned a split on the road at North Carolina on March 2 and 3, 1997. The Tar Heels won game one, 10-3, while the Huskies took game two, 7-6, in seven innings. All-American catcher Jason Grabowski hit a solo home run in the seventh to cap a three-run rally. Outfielder Matt Zawalich totaled three RBI on two home runs as lefty Mark Monkiewicz earned the win.
Up Next... The Huskies hit the road for a three-game series at Sam Houston State, March 8-10. UConn then returns to the "Nutmeg State" for road games at Central Connecticut (Mar. 12) and Sacred Heart (Mar. 13).
An Eye on the Books... Mazzilli and Ferriter sit in the top-20 of nine major offensive categories in the UConn record book. Mazzilli is tied for third in career doubles with 53 and is just two shy of taking over second place. On the bases, Ferriter ranks third with 75 stolen bases and needs two to pass George Springer and six to become the Huskies' all-time leading base stealer. The pair is currently tied for second all-time in career triples at 10 along with Springer.
Homegrown Huskies... The Connecticut 34-man roster features 19 players from the "Nutmeg State". All UConn players from the state of Connecticut will be identifiable by a decal on the back of their hats and helmets in the outline of the state. Seven of 10 starters on opening day are from Connecticut, including starting pitcher Anthony Marzi.