April 12, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut is back on the road for a three-game BIG EAST series at Villanova beginning with a 3:15 pm start against the Wildcats on Friday afternoon.
About the Huskies... UConn comes into the weekend at 19-13 overall and 5-4 in league play after claiming last weekend’s series vs. St. John’s and a split of mid-week, non-conference games. Freshman third baseman Vinny Siena leads the way with a .341 batting average, while senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli leads the team in runs (30) and RBI (25) to go with a .298 average and 13 steals. On the mound, the Huskies own a 3.07 team earned run average, led by redshirt-sophomore RHP Carson Cross (1.57). He is 5-1 on the season with a team-leading 52 strikeouts.
Last Time Out... Connecticut avenged a walk-off loss from a week ago with an 11-6 win at Brown on Tuesday. The Huskies’ offense supplied double-digit runs for the third time this season behind 11 hits. Freshman first baseman Bobby Melley doubled twice and drove in three runs, while sophomore catcher Connor David went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Senior RHP Pat Butler (3-0) earned the win in his 10th relief appearance of the season.
Scouting the Wildcats... Villanova is 9-22 overall and 1-5 in the BIG EAST after taking the finale against Notre Dame, last Sunday. Staff ace and junior RHP Pat Young is 1-3 with a 3.42 ERA and a team-high 49 K’s. Sophomore LHP Josh Harris owns a team-best 2.70 ERA and is 2-4. Senior 2B Tyler Sciacca is batting .326 with eight doubles and 14 RBI to lead the Wildcat offense.
Last Time They Met... UConn and Villanova have not played since a three-game series in Pennsylvania in 2011. The Huskies swept the action, including a doubleheader to open the series. In the finale, Mazzilli went 4-for-6 with three runs as Connecticut was victorious, 10-2. John Andreoli and Doug Elliot each chipped in with three hits, while Brian Ward pitched five innings and struck out seven for the win.
All-Time vs. Villanova... The Huskies lead the all-time series against the Wildcats, which dates back to 1947, 33-24. In the last 15 meetings, UConn has won 13 of them and has not lost since 2009. Villanova won the first meeting, 3-2.
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.
Starting Cross... Cross’ first 16 appearances in 2012 were out of the bullpen, but each of his last 10 have been starts. When starting games, he is 6-1 with a 1.43 ERA and 67 K’s in 75.1 innings. The Huskies are 8-2 in his starts. Nationally, Cross owns the third lowest career ERA among active players with at least 75 innings pitched at 1.43.
Bullpen Bagels... The Husky bullpen has tossed 77 scoreless innings of the 100 whole innings pitched. As a unit, the bullpen owns a 3.17 ERA, compared to a 4.11 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 Pat Butler own ERAs of 0.69 and 1.71 in 13.0 and 21.0 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.
Up Next... In the mid-week, UConn hosts Fairfield on Tuesday at 3:00 pm before gearing up for a three-game set at home against USF. Game one will be played at New Britain Stadium on Friday night at 6:30 pm.
On the Bases... Connecticut has remained dedicated to its aggressive game plan as the Huskies have attempted 90 stolen bases to the opponents 59. UConn has totaled 71 steals, a .789 success rate, while the Huskies have thrown out eight opposing runners on the bases. Ferriter and Verdi lead UConn with 19 and 14, respectively. The Huskies 71 steals are good enough for 15th in the country and 17th in steals per game, 2.22.
Lineups... Through 32 games, the Huskies have used 14 different lineups, adding three new ones in the last week. Connecticut’s two most common lineups feature a catching platoon with sophomore Connor David and freshman Max McDowell. UConn used 32 different lineups in 2012. Through 32 games in the last two seasons, the Huskies used 18 lineups in 2012 and 12 in 2011.
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.
TWI(UConn)B History... The Huskies went to Morgantown and snapped a 20-game home winning streak with a 6-3 victory over West Virginia on April 13, 2006. Rich Sirois tossed eight innings to earn the win as UConn improved to 22-10. Bryan Maler went 3-for-5 with a run and a RBI. Connecticut swept the Mountaineers with 7-5 and 13-8 wins.