UConn Baseball took a 2-0 loss on Saturday at J.O. Christian Field, its first time being shut out in 2017.
“They hit two balls hard back-to-back and we didn’t hit any of ours back-to-back,” head coach Jim Penders said.
As in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader, this one was a pitchers’ duel.
Wills Montgomerie gave UConn 6 1/3 innings and though he allowed five walks and five hits, a Bulls runner did not reach third until the seventh inning. He allowed just one run.
“[Montgomerie] had a really good start,” Penders said. “He was in command. I thought he was sensational.”
His counterpart, right-hander Peter Strzelecki, was even more impressive. He allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout while walking one and striking out eight Husky batters.
“I want to give him credit,” Penders said. “He had a heck of a start.”
Strzelecki retired the first eight hitters he faced before first baseman Chris Winkel hit a triple into the left-center field gap with two outs in the third. He would remain stranded.
USF was close but couldn’t get one across throughout the early and middle stages of the game. Montgomerie stranded seven Bulls in the first five frames, leaving two on base in each of the first, second and fifth innings.
“Wills Montgomerie is tough and I love having him on our pitching staff,” Penders said.
As Montgomerie began to tire in the seventh, USF scratched a run across. Garrett Zech doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning and scored when Kevin Merrell singled right back up the middle. Troy Stefanski’s throw from center field was on time but up the line and that spelled the end of Montgomerie’s outing.
With two outs in the ninth, USF added a solo home run for a valuable insurance run off the bat of Cam Montgomery heading into the bottom of the ninth. Strzelecki retired the final 13 batters he faced to serve the Huskies their defeat.
UConn (28-21, 12-9) will return to action on Monday at J.O. Christian Field against Northeastern. First pitch is at 1 p.m.