March 27, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut is back on the road for a BIG EAST series at Seton Hall, beginning with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 pm on Thursday and wrapping up with a 1:00 pm start on Saturday.
About the Huskies... UConn has won three straight since dropping its conference opener to Georgetown on Friday, 5-2. The Huskies are 14-7 overall and 2-1 in league play. Senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli enters the weekend on a career-best 15-game hitting streak. He is batting .367 with 22 RBI and 21 runs scored on 13 extra-base hits. Freshman third baseman Vinny Siena is second on the team at .363 and has driven in 14 runs and scored 13. Redshirt-sophomore RHP Carson Cross has been the team’s ace, making the Saturday starts. He is 5-0 with a 1.09 earned run average with 33 strikeouts and a 0.99 WHIP.
In the Polls... Connecticut received votes in the NCBWA Top-30 for the third time in four weeks. Prior to the week of March 4, the Huskies last received votes in the 2012 USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Preseason Poll. UConn was last ranked at the conclusion of 2011 in all four polls, ranking as high as No. 11 in Baseball America.
Last Time Out... Freshman left-hander Christian Colletti improved to 2-0 in a 5.1-inning outing with four K’s as the Huskies beat Hartford, 9-1. Connecticut led 2-1 after seven and broke the game open with seven runs in the final two innings. Redshirt-senior center fielder Billy Ferriter tied his career-high with three stolen bases as he and junior shortstop Tom Verdi executed two successful double steals. Freshman first baseman Bobby Melley went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.
Scouting the Pirates... Seton Hall is 9-12 on the season and 1-2 in the BIG EAST following its league-opening series at No. 15 Notre Dame. Senior righty Jon Prosinski, the winning pitcher against the Irish, was tabbed as the league’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year and so far is 3-2 on the year with a 3.46 ERA. Beyond Prosinski, five other pitchers have started two or three games. Senior shortstop Guiseppe Papaccio and junior center fielder Zach Granite are each hitting .329. Papaccio has knocked in 12 runs and hit eight doubles, while Granite has scored a team-high 20 runs and swiped 14 bags.
Last Time They Met... UConn took two out of three from SHU at home in 2012. The two teams split a doubleheader with Prosinski and David Fischer going toe-to-toe for eight innings. The Huskies won the game in 11 innings on a walk-off wild pitch by Ed Ras to score Jon Testani. After the Pirates won game two, a game that was suspended due to darkness and resumed on Sunday, Anthony Marzi got the win in seven; allowing just one run on two hits in a 7-1 decision. Ferriter hit .750 (9-for-12) in the series with seven runs, five RBI and four stolen bases.
Starting Cross... Cross’ first 16 appearances in 2012 were out of the bullpen, but each of his last eight have been starts. When starting games, he is 6-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 39 K’s in 52.1 innings. The Huskies are 7-1 in his starts. Nationally, Cross owns the lowest career ERA among active players with at least 75 innings pitched at 1.09.
Road Warriors... Connecticut will play each of its first 24 games on the road; the longest such streak since playing 21 in a row away from home in 2005, which was also the last time UConn did not play a home game in the month of March. The Huskies home opener will be played on April 1 against Quinnipiac at J.O. Christian Field.
Bullpen Bagels... The Husky bullpen has tossed 53 scoreless innings of the 65 whole innings pitched. As a unit, the bullpen owns a 2.93 ERA, compared to a 4.75 ERA by opposing relievers. UConn relievers have tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings. Senior RHPs Will Jolin and Ryan Moore each own ERAs of 0.00 in 8.2 and 9.0 innings pitched, respectively. In extra-inning games, the bullpen has thrown 13 innings, given up six hits, struck out 10 and allowed zero runs.
Age is Just a Number... Through research conducted by the UCF sports information staff, Ferriter is the fifth oldest baseball player in NCAA Division I. He turned 24 on February 24, 1989. Columbia’s Joey Falcone is the oldest player in the nation at 26 (June 1, 1986). Ferriter’s 200 games played ranks fifth all-time at UConn and is tied for the fourth most among active NCAA players.
Up Next... The Huskies will finally play in Storrs with back-to-back non-conference match-ups with Quinnipiac on April 1 and Boston College on April 2. Both games will start at 3:00 pm.
Lineups... Through 21 games, the Huskies have used eight different lineups, adding two new ones last weekend. Connecticut’s most common lineup, featuring sophomore Connor David at catcher, has been used seven times. UConn used 32 different lineups in 2012. Through 21 games in the last two seasons, the Huskies used 10 lineups in 2012 and six in 2011.
TWI(UConn)B History... Between March 28 and April 1, 2001, Connecticut went 4-1, including a series win over Virginia Tech at home. The Huskies stole a 3-2 win in game one of a doubleheader against VT on March 31 and surrendered a 3-2 game to the Hokies in the nightcap. Connecticut took the series with a 7-6 win in the finale as Mike Scott scored three runs on a 5-for-5 day with a triple and Mike James pitched 2.1 innings out of the pen to earn the win.