April 1, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - After 24 road games to start the season, the University of Connecticut baseball team returns to Storrs for its home opener against Quinnipiac at Monday afternoon, followed by a Tuesday match-up with Boston College.
About the Huskies... UConn comes into the week at 15-9 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST. Freshman third baseman Vinny Siena is leading the Huskies in hitting with a .363 batting average, while senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli is batting .327 with 22 runs scored and driven in. On the hill, redshirt-sophomore RHP Carson Cross has been the team’s ace with a 5-0 record and 1.30 ERA, while the Huskies are 7-0 in his starts.
Last Time Out... Connecticut earned one win in a series loss at Seton Hall over the weekend. The Huskies six-game extra-inning win streak was snapped in the opener and UConn was shutout for the first time this season in Thursday’s nightcap. The Huskies bounced back to salvage a win on Saturday, 3-2. Cross struck out a career-high nine over seven innings in a no-decision. UConn trailed 2-0 early, but tied the game with runs in the third and sixth innings. In the ninth, sophomore left fielder Eric Yavarone singled in sophomore right fielder Jon Testani with the eventual game-winning run.
Last Time vs. QU... The Huskies downed the Bobcats, 12-7, the day after Easter a year ago. Mazzilli and Testani each homered for UConn and lefty Ted Hurvul picked up the win in relief. Despite committing four errors, Connecticut was able to spin three double plays and strand 12 Quinnipiac runners.
All-Time vs. BC... UConn leads the all-time series against Boston College, 63-51. The series’ history dates back to 1909; a 7-2 win for the Huskies. Connecticut held a 44-30 advantage in BIG EAST contests between 1985 and 2005. The Eagles won last year’s match-up, 8-5.
Up Next... The Huskies remain at home for a BIG EAST series against St. John’s this weekend. Game one gets underway at 3:00 pm on Friday, followed by 1:00 pm first pitches on Saturday and Sunday.
Big East Openers... Since the league’s inception in 1985, UConn is 13-16 in its first BIG EAST contest of the season and 3-7 under Coach Penders’ watch, following Friday’s 5-2 loss at Georgetown.
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 1.06 ERA and 48 K’s in 59.1 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 1.14.
Road Warriors... Connecticut played 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.
New England Poll... The first NEIBA Coaches’ Poll was released last week; featuring Connecticut as the second ranked team in New England, behind Dartmouth (11-1). The Huskies received four first place votes to the Big Green’s seven.
Bullpen Bagels... The Husky bullpen has tossed 59 scoreless innings of the 73 whole innings pitched. As a unit, the bullpen owns a 2.85 ERA, compared to a 4.53 ERA by opposing relievers. UConn relievers had a string of 20 consecutive scoreless innings snapped at Seton Hall (Mar. 28-game 1). Senior RHPs Ryan Moore and Will Jolin own ERAs of 0.00 and 0.84 in 9.1 and 10.2 innings pitched, respectively. In extra-inning games, the bullpen has thrown 17.1 innings, given up 12 hits, struck out 11 and allowed one run.
March to Victory... Connecticut posted a record of 12-6 in the month of March, besting last season’s mark of 11-8. The 12 wins are the most for the Huskies in the month since registering a 13-7 record in 2008.
2012 Home Opener... RHP Pat Butler pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six, as UConn rolled to an 8-0 shutout of Yale on March 21. Mazzilli homered for the fourth straight games and fifth time in six games.