UConn baseball seeks to continue winning streak
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 23:03
The UConn baseball team heads into this weekend looking to protect a five-game winning streak in their final weekend before they begin playing in New England.
The Huskies have gone 6-3 in their first three early season trips to Florida, but this weekend, they will head to Texas for a three-game series with Sam Houston State, the first time the two programs will ever meet.
Last weekend, UConn ran through the Stetson Tournament, defeating Ohio State, Central Michigan and Stetson. Combined with wins over Texas Tech and Troy in the prior weekend, the Huskies have won five and a row, which garnered a few votes in this week’s NCBWA Top 25 Poll.
Despite getting some recognition with the voters for their solid early season start, the Huskies come into the weekend at No. 77 in the RPI, 27 spots behind Sam Houston State.
The Bearkats have kicked off the season with a 7-5 start, including wins over Rice and Texas, both ranked teams at the time.
Sam Houston State’s key to success in the early going has been their strong pitching, as they’ve yielded just 3.5 runs per game over their first 12. The Huskies on the other hand have had hot bats in the first few weeks, hanging up nearly six runs per game on their opponents, setting up an interesting matchup between the Bearkats’ pitchers and UConn’s hitters.
Sophomore left fielder Eric Yavarone and senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli have been on a tear to begin the year, hitting .385 and .415 and slugging .462 and .683, respectively. The two have combined for two of the teams’ six homeruns and 17 of their 46 RBIs.
If Sam Houston State plans on scoring runs over the weekend, they’re going to want to get them early on in the game, as the Huskies’ bullpen has been far-and-away the strongest aspect of the team.
In 35 1/3 innings of work, they have a collective ERA of just 3.06, and have thrown 26 scoreless innings. That bullpen strength has lead to a 4-0 record when leading after six innings.
Game times are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday.
Following this weekend, the Huskies will return to the Nutmeg State to play at both Central Connecticut State and Sacred Heart on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, their first games of the season outside of the warmth of the South.