STORRS, Conn. (March 30, 2008) — A first inning home run by senior Pat Mahoney (Des Moines, Iowa) set the tone as the University of Connecticut baseball team downed Villanova 8-3 in the rubber game of a three-game BIG EAST set on Sunday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs.
The Huskies now stand at 13-11 overall on the season and 5-4 in league competition. The Wildcats dip to 8-15 on the year and 1-5 on their conference docket.
UConn wasted no time taking control of Sunday's contest, plating five runs in the first inning, three of them coming with two outs and four of them unearned. Junior Matt Burnett (Endicott, N.Y.) was the beneficiary of a dropped fly ball by James Dolbier in left field with one out and Mahoney followed by sending a 3-1 pitch over fence in straight-away left field directly over the banner honoring Andy Baylock's retired number 28. UConn kept the rally going after Mahoney's homer. Freshman Mike Olt (Branford, Conn.) reached on an infield single, stole second and scored when freshman Mike Nemeth (Washington, N.J.) lined a single over the head of Wildcat short stop Derek Shunk. Freshman Doug Elliot (Rocky Hill, Conn.) was hit by a pitch and the runners moved up to second and third base on a balk by Chris Pack. Josh Eidell came on in relief of Pack and senior Brad Olt (Branford, Conn.) greeted him with a two-RBI single down the left field line that brought both Elliot and Nemeth plateward to put the Huskies on top 5-0.
Eidell settled down and kept the Husky bats at bay for the next five innings while Villanova produced several rallies. The Wildcats loaded the bases in the third with one out for Shunk, a preseason first-team All-America pick, but freshman hurler Elliot Glynn (Los Alamitos, Calif.) induced a 6-4-3 double play to escape unscathed. Villanova did plate a pair of players in the top of the fifth. Shunk again came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, this time drawing a walk allowing Ryan Arcadia to score. Sophomore Will Musson (Wethersfield, Conn.) came out of the bullpen in relief of Glynn and got Dan Terpak to hit a lazy fly ball to short center field but it was dropped, allowing a second Wildcat to cross the plate. Musson prevented further damage by striking out James Dolbier and getting Dain Hall to foul out to Mahoney at third base.
Now up just 5-2, the Huskies pushed across a sixth run in the bottom of the sixth inning as freshman Pierre LePage (Wolcott, Conn.) led off with a single up the middle, was sacrificed to second by Burnett and scored on an RBI single to left by Mike Olt. The Wildcats scored once in the seventh when Terpak plated Joe Cotter with a sacrifice fly but the Huskies scored twice in the home half of the frame to take an 8-3 edge. In that seventh inning rally, Brad Olt smacked a double to the left center field fence allowing Elliot to score. Olt would later score on an overthrow by Arcadia, one of five Wildcat errors in the ball game which helped account for six unearned runs.
Junior David Erickson (Stratford, Conn.) kept Villanova's bats quiet in the eighth and ninth innings as he earned his second save of the year after pitching the game's final three innings. Musson earned the win in relief of Glynn who went 4.1 innings, yielding two runs, one earned, but permitting four hits and six walks. Musson allowed just one hit in his 1.2 innings on the hill while Erickson's time on the mound saw the Wildcats score once and get two hits and a walk. Erickson fanned three. Starter Chris Pack took the loss for Villanova, lasting just two thirds of an inning and getting tagged for five runs, four of which were unearned, on three hits. Eidell threw five solid innings of relief for Villanova, allowing one run.
Five Huskies, Burnett, LePage, Nemeth, Brad Olt and Mike Olt each had two hits in the game. Brad Olt led UConn with three RBI while Elliot scored twice.
UConn returns to action on Tuesday when the Huskies head west down I-84 to face Hartford at 3:00 p.m.