Huskies homer their way past UMass
LJ Mazzilli takes a swing during the Huskies’ 10-2 win over UMass. Mazzilli went 2-4 in the game with a home run and three RBIs. Ed Ryan/The Daily Campus
After nearly two weeks on the road, the baseball team returned to Storrs yesterday and put on a show for the fans at J.O. Christian Field, launching four home runs into the distance en route to a dominating 10-2 win over UMass.
The Huskies scored nine of their 10 runs off home runs, the most dramatic of which came in the sixth inning when Kevin Vance launched a solo shot over the trees beyond left field. Nick Ahmed and L.J. Mazzilli each contributed to the effort with two-run homers, and Mike Nemeth added an exclamation point in the seventh inning with a three-run shot of his own, his sixth of the season.
"I think it's awesome that we came out and really swung it well," said Nemeth of his team's performance. "We've been scoring a ton of runs, so that really shows the team effort, you can't score 10 or 12 runs with just one or two guys doing the work. So it's nice that everyone's chipping in and everything's flowing nicely."
In addition to dominating the game on offense, the UConn bullpen did a great job keeping the UMass offense off the board. Instead of going with a starter, coach Jim Penders split the game up between four relievers, who combined to hold the Minutemen to two runs on seven hits.
"We've been able to beat some people different ways now," Penders said. "We've been able to beat people with our gloves and our pitching, and today we pitched well. We needed a staff effort today, we wanted to have the bullpen going today so that hopefully we'd be able to space things out for the weekend."
Tuesday also saw the return of Pierre LePage, who had missed the team's previous eight games after being suspended for violating team rules. LePage showed no signs of rust, going 2-5 with an RBI, and two runs scored. He also made his presence felt on the field, ending the game with a fantastic double play.
After the game, Penders expressed his feelings on having his second baseman back.
"It feels good, he makes us go," Penders said. "He looked like he didn't miss a beat with his play and we're glad to have him back, and I know he's glad to be back."
UConn (18-7) has now won six games in a row, and during that streak the team has been playing great all-around baseball. Today they will look to extend that streak to seven when they play UMass again in Amherst, Mass.
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