March 27, 2014
STORRS, Conn. -- Primed for its first home series of the year, the UConn baseball team (11-11, 1-2 The American) hosts Rutgers (8-12, 1-2 The American) this weekend for three games at J.O. Christian Field. The Huskies and Scarlet Knights are set to play on Friday, March 28 at 3 p.m. and will have 1 p.m. first pitches on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30.
Welcome Back to the Nutmeg State… The Huskies opened their season with 22 straight games away from J.O. Christian Field, a streak that stretched from Feb. 14 – March 28. UConn’s first scheduled game in the state of Connecticut was moved from Bridgeport, Conn. to Yaphank, N.Y. on March 11. UConn had a home game originally slated for Storrs moved to the campus of Hartford on Tuesday, a 3-2 win for the Hawks. Friday’s game will be the first played at J.O. Christian since May 12, 2013.
Home Openers... Since Jim Penders took over the helm of the Huskies in the 2004 season, UConn is 4-5-1 in home openers. Last season, the Huskies downed Quinnipiac, 4-2, in seven innings behind a walk-off triple from Melley in their first game at J.O. Christian field on April 1.
About the Huskies… UConn is off to an 11-11 start in the 2014 season, including a 7-3 record in neutral site games. Four of UConn’s nine starters have recorded batting averages that top .300, led by junior 2B Vinny Siena, who checks in at .317. The UConn starting rotation of upperclassmen Tabakman, Marzi and Brian Ward have helped propel the Husky staff to a 2.45 overall ERA. UConn’s 33-man roster boasts just 10 total upperclassman; a list that also features just three seniors. The Huskies are competing in their first season of the American Athletic Conference after winning their final BIG EAST Tournament title in 2013.
Scouting Rutgers… Rutgers has opened the 2014 campaign with an 8-12 record and is 1-2 in The American after dropping two of three to No. 10 Louisville last weekend. The Scarlet Knights are led by senior INF/OF Brian O’Grady who is tops on the team in batting average (.395), home runs (2), total bases (48), slugging (.632), and OBP (.461). As a staff, Rutgers sports a 5.54 ERA and has issued 97 walks compared to 94 strikeouts.
All-time vs. the Scarlet Knights… In a series that dates back to 1946 and features 63 games, Rutgers holds a slim 34-29 all-time edge. Last season, the two squads met up for a three game series during the first week of May in Piscataway, N.J. with the Scarlet Knights taking two of three. The Huskies got revenge in the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament, downing their conference foes, 2-1, in the semifinals behind a 7.0 inning, six hit performance from Jordan Tabakman. LJ Mazzilli recorded the lone Husky RBI, plating Tom Verdi with a first inning double to right center field.
Following the conference series with Rutgers, UConn has midweek non-conference games with Boston College and Yale on tap for the first week of April.