Huskies' upset of Cowboys highlights road trip
The UConn baseball team continued its early season struggles, as the Huskies went 2-5 during their two weekend road trips over spring break.
The first weekend, the team traveled to Oregon to participate in the Nike Showcase.
In the first game, the Huskies got off to a strong start, upsetting No. 22 Oklahoma 8-7. UConn took an 8-3 lead into the ninth, thanks in large part to a six-inning, three-run effort by starter Brian Ward. But the bullpen gave up four runs in the final frame before finally closing out the Sooners. Ward improved to 3-0 on the season with the win.
UConn opened a day-night doubleheader on Saturday with a matchup against Illinois. Against the Illini, the Huskies struggled to produce much of anything on offense, as they managed to scratch out just one run while the Illinois pitchers to spread out their eight hits. Pat Butler threw 4 1/3 innings of five-run, five-hit ball before turning it over to the bullpen, which held the Illini scoreless the rest of the way. Butler took the loss and fell to 0-2 on the season as UConn dropped the game 5-1.
In the night portion of the doubleheader, the Huskies put together a comeback victory against Oregon State. After falling behind 3-1 in the early going, UConn managed to plate at least one run in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings, pushing across two in the seventh before holding on for a 6-3 win. The bullpen again shut down the opponent's offense, giving up just five hits and no runs in 5 2/3 innings after taking over for starter Jordan Tabakman, who gave up just two hits but walked five while giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings of work. Second baseman LJ Mazzilli went 2-for-4 on the night and hit a two-run homer to left field to give the Huskies the lead in the top of seventh. David Fischer picked up the win for UConn and improved to 1-2 on the season.
On Sunday, Anthony Marzi threw the first complete game of his career and gave up just four runs, but the Huskies' offense was shut out, and they fell to No. 17 Oregon 4-0. With the loss, Marzi dropped to 0-3 on the year.
The Huskies then traveled back east for the second weekend of the break and headed to South Carolina for the Coastal Tournament, hosted by Coastal Carolina.
The UConn pitching staff struggled the entire weekend, as it gave up 28 runs in three games.
Things started out especially poorly for the Huskies' pitching on Friday, as they gave up 15 runs in a 15-4 loss to UAB, including seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings pitched by Ward, who made the start and fell to 3-1 on the season.
Against Coastal Carolina on Saturday, the UConn offense was stymied for most of the game, as it failed to score a run until the seventh inning and managed just two on the day on seven hits. Marzi kept the Huskies in the game with seven innings of three-run ball while giving up five hits and striking out four, but the Chanticleers managed to put the game out of reach with three runs in the bottom of the eighth off of Michael Healey. With the loss, Marzi fell to 0-4.
In their final game of the break, the Huskies faced off against Michigan. UConn jumped out to an early lead as they scored three runs in the first inning and held a 4-2 lead after two innings. But again, the bullpen gave up late runs that hurt the Huskies, as the Wolverines scratched out three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead and added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, sending UConn to a 7-5 loss. Mazzilli and Alex DeBellis drove in all of the Huskies' five runs, as Mazzilli went 2-for-5 and DeBellis went 2-for-4 in the game. Fischer again took the loss and now stands at 1-4 on the season.
The Huskies are now 6-11 on the season. Their next game will be Wednesday when they host Yale at J.O. Christian Field in their home opener.
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