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STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team (28-17) closes a nine-game home stretch when it hosts Holy Cross (21-24) on Wednesday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. The Huskies and Crusaders will lock up for the 64th time in the history of the two programs, with Connecticut up 42-19-2 all-time.
The Huskies are looking to close their current home-stand on a high note, currently 4-4 in the previous eight games at J.O. Christian Field. UConn has been exceptional against New England neighbors this season, holding a 9-1 record against their regional rivals in 2015.
UConn and Holy Cross last met on the diamond in the 2013 season, an 8-0 victory for the Huskies in Storrs. Billy Ferriter went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the Husky attack, while LJ Mazzilli also had a three-hit day. Current Huskies Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.), Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) and Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) each had a hit and a run scored in the contest. Max Slade (Cheshire, Conn.) made the lone start of his career in the match-up and fired four one-hit, shutout innings to pick up the win.
The Huskies have been led in the 2015 season by a balance of offense and pitching, leading The American with a 2.61 ERA and coming in at second in the league with a team OPS of .801. Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) leads UConn at the dish with a .358 batting average, placing fourth in the nation with 72 hits. Siena leads The American in runs scored (47) and RBIs (43) and is third in the league in batting average. Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) is batting .336 behind Siena, while Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) and McDowell are tied for the team-lead with seven home runs each.
On the mound, Andrew Zapata (Staten Island, N.Y.) will make his eighth start of the season against Holy Cross, taking a perfect 4-0 record to the bump against the Crusaders. Zapata has been terrific in recent outings, going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 14 strikeouts against three walks in his last three midweek starts. Overall this season as a starting pitcher, Zapata has compiled a 3.23 ERA and a .203 batting average against in 39.0 innings over seven starts.
Holy Cross currently sits at 21-24 on the year, including a 12-8 mark in the Patriot League to finish third in the regular season league standings. Cam O'Neill leads the Crusaders with a .323 average, while Anthony Critelli tops the squad with 14 doubles, three home runs and 33 RBIs to go along with a .300 average. Evan Ocello has also hit three homers and leads the team with 17 stolen bases and 32 runs scored. On the mound, the Holy Cross staff pitches to a 4.19 ERA and holds opponents to a .258 batting average against.
After the midweek against Holy Cross, UConn jumps back into league play with a major road series at East Carolina. The Huskies are looking to avenge dropping two of three to the Pirates in Storrs earlier this month. Game one of a three-game set is set for Friday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m.