Tom Verdi takes batting practice in Clearwater on Tuesday.
May 23, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. - UConn returns to the BIG EAST Tournament for the fourth straight season. The Huskies earned the fifth seed and open against USF at 8:00 pm on Wednesday night.
On the Air... This week’s action can be streamed on WTIC.com with Joe D’Ambrosio calling the play-by-play as well as 91.7 FM WHUS and WHUS.org.
About the Huskies... Connecticut, picked third in the BIG EAST preseason poll, finished league play 16-11 and 29-25-1 overall. The UConn pitching staff has been its strength down the stretch, led by senior RHP David Fischer in the rotation and redshirt-junior RHP Scott Oberg out of the bullpen. Fischer is 4-6 with a 3.54 earned run average and team-high 64 strikeouts. Oberg leads the team in wins at 5-0 and sports a 1.09 ERA to go with seven saves in 33 innings. Collectively, the Huskies are hitting .288 this season to their opponent’s .255 average. Senior first baseman Tim Martin leads the team with a .341 average and 23 RBI. Junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli has hit a team-leading nine home runs and driven in 37 runs, while scoring 41.
Last Time Out... UConn closed out the regular season with a 4-0 shutout victory over Notre Dame, behind 5.1 innings of shutout ball from redshirt-freshman RHP Carson Cross. Cross struck out five and scattered three hits. Junior right fielder Stanley Paul drove in each of the Huskies’ first two runs with a bases loaded hit by pitch and a groundball out to second with a runner on third. Connecticut added two insurance runs in the sixth on two-out singles by Martin and Mazzilli.
Last Time vs. USF... South Florida claimed all three games at home, despite outstanding pitching performances from Fischer and sophomore lefty Anthony Marzi for Connecticut. The two pitchers tossed back-to-back complete games, but USF went came away with 3-2 and 3-0 wins before taking the finale, 8-3.
All-Time vs. USF... Prior to being swept two weeks ago, the Huskies had won five straight over the Bulls and 12 out of 14. Since USF joined the BIG EAST, UConn holds a 13-9 advantage, including a perfect 4-0 record in the conference tournament. Overall, the Huskies trail the all-time series, 16-17, taking the first two games in 1968. After 1973, the two teams faced only once until joining leagues.
Gone Fisch’n... Fischer was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 20. He matched a career-long outing with eight innings pitched against Notre Dame on Thursday. Fischer also struck out a career-high 10 batters. His previous high was seven. Fischer earned the award on the last week of the regular season, while sophomore LHP Brian Ward won it on the first.
No Luck Lefty... Sophomore LHP Anthony Marzi is 2-8 on the season and 0-3 in complete games. His 2.80 ERA is the lowest among UConn starters. Overall, the Huskies are 5-9 in Marzi’s starts and have been shutout six times. While the team averages 3.57 runs when he starts, Marzi has only been averaged 1.80 runs in support (team’s runs scored, average per 9 IP, while the pitcher of record). Currently, UConn is scoreless in the last 23 innings that Marzi has been on the mound.
TWI(UConn)B History... Doug Elliot hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the seventh and Kevin Vance scored the game-winning run in the 10th to beat Rutgers in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship. The Huskies advanced to the title game behind a 6.1-inning performance from Pat Butler, while Mike Nemeth went 3-4 with a three-run HR. UConn fell in the final, 3-0, to St. John’s.
For the Record... Ferriter continues to climb the UConn record book and sits third all-time in career steals with 72 and moved into a tie for eigth in career hits with Sal Tinnerello (89-92) at 210. With a double last Tuesday, Mazzilli pulled into a tie for fourth in career doubles at 50 with Pierre LePage (08-10).
Hard Times in the Hardware City... The Huskies were shut out at New Britain Stadium last Friday night by Notre Dame, 4-0. UConn played in front of 1,535 fans, its largest home crowd of the season.
MiLB Update... Currently, 13 former Huskies are on Minor League rosters. Mike Olt (Frisco-AA) and George Springer (Lancaster, A-Adv.) each hit their ninth home run of the season this week. Springer, who homered in four straight at-bats last week, is hitting .526 (20-38) in his last 10 games.