In a game that was all about offense, UConn baseball took a 14-7 win over UMass Lowell on the road Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re going to have to outhit people,” head coach Jim Penders said. “Our pitching staff is not in place right now and we have to score runs when we can get them.”
Center fielder Troy Stefanski had four RBI as part of a 2-for-4 day, while right fielder Isaac Feldstein had three hits. Eight of the nine batters to record an at-bat contributed to the Huskies’ 14 hits.
UConn started off strong as catcher Zac Susi hit a two-run single after left fielder John Toppa and shortstop Anthony Prato executed a double steal to get a pair of runners in scoring position. They each began the contest with a hit-by-pitch.
However, UConn gave their 2-0 lead back in the bottom half of the first after Russ Olive hit a two-run home run to right. But then Husky hurler Jeff Kersten, who started after pitching a combined 1 2/3 innings in Friday’s doubleheader against Wichita State, settled in.
After the home run, he allowed just one hit, a single, and the only other runner to reach came on a wild pitch on strike three, but Susi threw out Mark Tumosa trying to steal second.
“We had to limit him to 50 pitches,” Penders said. “He has to be ready for Sunday.”
The River Hawks took the lead on a home run, one of four to right field on the day, and John Polichetti was able to stymie the Huskies’ offense through the rest of the early going but ran into trouble in the fifth.
UConn sent 10 men to the plate and registered seven hits on a combination of Polichetti and Nick Rand, scratching seven runs across the plate.
“We had a really good inning there,” Penders said. “Guys swung the bats well and were able to take advantage of their mistakes.”
First baseman Chris Winkel began the frame with a home run to right field and right fielder Isaac Feldstein began the onslaught with a soft ground ball that died before Joey Castellanos could get to it at shortstop. The bases were loaded and that single was the first of four consecutive hits, including long two-run doubles from designated hitter Thad Phillips and center fielder Troy Stefanski, with a single down the left field line by second baseman Christian Fedko.
The Huskies had a commanding 9-3 lead, but UMass Lowell came firing back with four runs to draw within two.
Jake Wallace shut down the River Hawks in the sixth and seventh while UConn added five insurance runs to put it away, four in the seventh and another in the eighth.
UConn (20-11-1) resumes American Athletic Conference play against Cincinnati on the road. First pitch is at 6 p.m.