PROTECTING THIS HOUSE
Students browse for various study abroad opportunities in the Rome Ballroom on Thursday evening. ROCHELLE BAROSS/The Daily Campus
The UConn baseball team won its third home game of the year against in-state rival Central Connecticut by a score of 7-4 yesterday. Right-hander Pat Butler evened up his record on the season at 2-2 and closer Scott Oberg earned his fifth save of the year.
The scoring began early thanks to an RBI single by Central's second basemen J.P. Sportman in the top of the first, but the Huskies answered right back with a second basemen of their own in Tim Martin, who hit a two-run shot to right just two batters into the bottom of the first. Martin has been battling shoulder problems all year and this was his first return to the starting lineup.
"That was a big home run after they went up 1-0. It was good to answer that run right away," said coach Jim Penders.
UConn put another run on the board after the homer that inning and another in the following inning, but then both offenses cooled off. Both pitchers settled in and found their groove, especially Butler who threw five and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball after his rough start.
"He has a tendency to do that, the first inning is usually his worst, but he settled in there," said Penders. "Last two outings he was very good."
The scoring resumed in the fifth for the Huskies as freshmen catcher Alex DeBellis drove in LJ Mazzilli and Ryan Fuller with a two-out single. They also added one more in the sixth before Central tried mounting a comeback in the late innings by adding two runs off Butler in the seventh and one off reliever Dan Feehan in the eighth on a botched pick-off attempt to second with a runner also on third.
The game went into the ninth a 7-4 ballgame, and it would stay that way thanks to a 1-2-3 inning by Oberg. Penders was originally planning on resting him yesterday, but had to bring him in the save situation created by the Central run scored in the eighth.
UConn is now riding their longest win streak of the season (6 games) and it's due to their improvement in the field, according to Penders.
"We're playing better defense. With that comes confidence. If you can make some plays you're going to have a little bit better confidence."
The Huskies will look to continue their streak against Seton Hall in a 3-game series this weekend.
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