BOSTON In a battle of the Huskies, the University of Connecticut baseball team got three runs in the ninth inning and held on to beat Northeastern by a 6-3 margin Thursday afternoon at Friedman Diamond.
Connecticut improved to 17-15-0 overall while Northeastern dropped to 13-11-0. UConn reliever Bob Barton (Carlisle, MA) picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season while Northeasterns Matt Cavallaro took the loss despite pitching a complete game while striking out nine.
UConn manufactured a run in the first to take the early lead. After the first two batters were retired, junior Brett Burnham (South Windsor, CT) took first base after being hit by a pitch and then advanced to third on a single by junior Peter Soteropoulos (Peabody, MA). After junior Dan Trubia (Tolland, CT) got behind in the count, Connecticut executed a double steal to perfection as Burnham scored for the 1-0 advantage.
Connecticut increased its lead to 3-0 in the third when junior Tyler Stefkovich (Westport, CT) singled to start off the inning. After a botched double play ball gave UConn runners at the corners with no outs, senior Cy Hess (Oakdale, CT) plated a run with a sacrifice fly. Soteropoulos then picked up an RBI on his second hit of the day, a line drive off the pitchers mound and up the middle of the infield.
Junior left-hander Erik Drown (Ipswich, MA) got into trouble in the bottom half of the third, loading the bases after hitting a batter with only one out. Drown, however, got Northeasterns Omar Pena to ground into an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam. Drown then cruised through the next three innings, hitting trouble again in the seventh and allowing two runs to make the score 3-2.
Northeasterns Jeff Heriot led off the eighth with his second home run of the season, knocking Drown from the game and tying the score at 3-3. Barton came on in relief for UConn and, thanks to a base hit and two errors, faced a bases-loaded situation with no outs. The right-hander got the next two Northeastern batters to ground into force outs at home and then struck out pinch hitter Jonathan Kahn to end the threat.
Connecticut broke the tie in the ninth on an RBI single by Stefkovich that scored sophomore Mike Mocerino (Northboro, MA). Hess then gave UConn a pair of insurance runs with a double to left center and, in the process, extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
Drown worked seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits while fanning four and walking two. Barton allowed only the one hit and struck out three in two innings of work.
Connecticut will have a day off before returning home to face St. Johns in a weekend BIG EAST series. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 20, before capping the series on Sunday, April 21. The start time for both days is noon. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
UConn 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 8 2
N'Eastern 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 5 2
Win: Barton (2-0).
Loss: Cavallaro (0-2).
E: UC Trubia, Barton; RU Kahn, Cavallaro.
DP: UC 2.
LOB: UC 6; NU 6.
2B: UC Hess.
HR: NU Heriot.
HBP: UC Burnham; NU Czarnowski, Kahn.
SH: UC Gorrie; NU Pena, Carlin.
SF: UC Hess.
SB: UC Gorrie 2, Burnham, Soteropoulos.
CS: UC Gorrie.
Batteries: UC Erik Drown (7), Bob Barton (2) and Tyler Stefkovich; NU Matt Cavallaro (9) and Luke Carlin.