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UConn baseball tops CCSU for third-straight win

The Huskies scored some early runs and Mason Feole put it away with a strong performance.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball won their third-straight contest on Friday as they got the better of CCSU at J.O. Christian Field, 6-1.

Third baseman Michael Woodworth led the way with three hits, but each of the nine Huskies’ starters reached base safely.

Through most of the year, UConn has been slow to start and they have scored runs in the fourth inning just four times in 22 games, but thanks to smart baserunning from shortstop Anthony Prato, the Huskies had a 1-0 lead after one.

Prato singled and advanced to second base after a balk. Then, catcher Zac Susi was retired on a very hard line drive to first base. Sam Loda tried to double off Prato, but his throw sailed into left field and Prato ran through head coach Jim Penders’ stop sign to score standing up.

“It was a really good baseball play,” Penders said. “I was holding him up, but he was his own third base coach there. He saw something.”

UConn followed it up with a trio of runs in the second, cashing in on some walks. Center fielder Troy Stefanski and second baseman Christian Fedko each took a free base, with first baseman Chris Winkel’s hard line drive up the middle scoring Stefanski. Woodworth would come through with an RBI single and then a productive out from left fielder John Toppa made it 4-0.

Susi led off the third with a home run, and that would be all Mason Feole needed.

The sophomore left-hander gave his squad seven shutout innings and allowed only three hits. He also struck out 13 batters, which is a career-high and a season-high for the team.

“It felt good to just be out there and go throw my fastball for strikes,” Feole said.

Feole seemed to get stronger as the afternoon wore on. He allowed a runner to reach in each of the first four frames on a walk and then three singles, but settled down.

He would retire nine in a row, starting with two punch-outs looking to end the fourth. That run ended when he hit a batter with one down in the seventh, but Feole retired the final two he faced to complete a strong start.

“He was effectively wild, in and out of the zone,” Penders said.

The Huskies would add a run in the seventh to make it 6-0, but the Blue Devils made a run at a comeback in the eighth, loading the bases on a pair of walks sandwiched by a single. However, Joe Simeone got himself out of the mess with only one run on the board for CCSU.

“We didn’t score in the fifth when he had a chance, we have to take advantage of that more, but we did pretty well [offensively] today,” Prato said.

UConn (14-9) completes their weekend with Hartford on Saturday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. Chase Gardner (1-0, 3.86 ERA) is on the mound for the Huskies.