A big weekend ahead
Huskies face Scarlet Knights in a 3-game set
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 22:04
The UConn baseball team will welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to Storrs for a three game series this weekend, concluding at Dodd Stadium in Norwich on Sunday.
The Huskies are coming off a come-from-behind victory over Fairfield University, where UConn scored nine unanswered runs to improve their overall record to 21-16. UConn is 9-3 on the year so far in Big East play. Offensively, two Huskies have dominated the plate. Junior second basemen L.J. Mazzilli is leading the team in slugging percentage at .628, runs scored with 34 and RBI with 32. “I feel like I see the kitchen sink up here almost, you need to adjust yourself to hit whatever you can in the strike zone,” said Mazzilli.
The other Husky performing well is junior center fielder Billy Ferriter. He leads the team in batting average at .360 and also leads the team in on base percentage at .447. “Billy is an incredible player; he can do almost anything on a baseball field. A lot of people don’t know that he has been playing hurt and it’s hard to tell because he can just play through it,” said assistant coach Joshua MacDonald. Ferriter has hit 4-6 in the last two games he has played.
On the hill for the Huskies, junior right-handed reliever Scott Oberg has done well out of the bullpen, recording six saves and three victories on the season. Sophomore left handed pitcher Brian Ward has been battling back from fatigue and is trying to find his stride on the mound. “He struck out the side in practice today; it’s a confidence thing now. He’s got to remember there’s a guy in the batter’s box with a weapon trying to beat him, he just needs to get back to executing pitches,” said head coach Jim Penders.
Rutgers has been on quite a roll as of late as they are currently on a six game winning streak, with their most recent victory coming against Lafayette by an 8-3 final score.
Rutgers is 21-15 overall on the season with a 7-5 record in the Big East. The Scarlet Knight offense is led by junior infielder Patrick Kivlehan, who leads the team in eight different categories including batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage. On the mound, junior left-handed pitcher Rob Smorol leads the team with five wins and has recorded an ERA of 3.64. Smorol is expected to start one of the three games this weekend.
UConn has dominated the Scarlet Knights as of late, taking eight of the last ten games they have faced each other, though they trail 25-31 in the all-time series. This weekend will also be the first time the Huskies will play at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. Last year the Huskies went 2-3 at their home away from home. “It’s awesome, I have played their a couple times already, have some great memories from regionals. Don’t really expect a lot of homeruns out of that yard though,” said Mazzilli.
Due to inclement weather on Sunday, there will be a double header today at J.O. Christian Field, with game one starting at noon. First pitch for game two is scheduled for 3 p.m. On Sunday, the series finale at Dodd Stadium starts at noon.