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No. 24 UConn Baseball Holds off Tulane, 6-2

UConn pitcher P.J. Poulin induced a huge double play in the eighth to fight off a potential Tulane rally.

UConn’s Chris Winkel (11) celebrates after a bases loaded inning-ending double play in the 8th inning vs Tulane.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball won their fourth-straight contest on Saturday as the Huskies got the better of the Tulane Green Wave at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Friday, 6-2.

“There’s great energy [here],” head coach Jim Penders said. “Guys were jumping out of their uniforms to play.”

UConn scored three in the first and got the crowd into the game early after a shutdown inning from starter Mason Feole.

Left fielder John Toppa singled to lead off the home half and shortstop Anthony Prato tried to bunt for a single. Kaleb Roper fielded it from the mound but his throw deflected off of Trevor Jensen’s glove at first to set up runners on the corners for catcher Zac Susi.

The junior had reached base in 25-straight games and made it 26 with a line drive triple into the deep right-center gap. Both runners scored and on the next batter, Susi came in on a wild pitch.

“I was really happy to come through there,” Susi said. “I just wanted to do something to fire up the guys.”

Right fielder Isaac Feldstein homered to left field in the third to make it 4-0 and that was all Feole needed.

He took the early lead and was the aggressor throughout his outing, striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings, but at the cost of five walks. He would allow just two runs.

“He attacked hitters all day long. He had a lot of confidence and came right at guys,” Susi said. “He prevailed at the end of the day and it’s awesome to see him keep battling.”

The Green Wave got a run in the fourth but the Huskies countered in the fifth, helped by Prato’s leadoff double, to set the UConn advantage at 5-1 headed into the later innings.

In the seventh inning Feole began to tire and would load the bases with one out.

Jacob Wallace entered for him and after Jonathon Artigues lined a single into right to plate a run, he got out of the inning with a strikeout and a bouncing ball to Chris Winkel at first.

Tulane again filled the bases with runners in the eighth and after Wallace earned his second strikeout, Travis Jewett pinch hit for Ty Johnson after one pitch with left-hander Luke Glancy. Penders countered with PJ Poulin and the home team won the battle, as Glacy grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

“It’s awesome when you have the ability to just get a ground ball and get out of an inning,” Feole said. “It helps a lot to know that you have a great infield and outfield behind you.”

Second baseman Michael Woodworth added an insurance run with a solo home run to left and Poulin closed it down in the ninth for his 11th save.

UConn (24-12-1, 8-5) and Tulane play again at Dunkin’ Donuts Park at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday. The Huskies’ Chase Gardner will face Keagan Gilles.