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No. 23 UConn baseball shuts out Memphis to clinch series

The Huskies have won five consecutive American Athletic Conference series.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

No. 23 UConn baseball was only busted out six hits on Saturday, but like Mason Feole on Friday, Jeff Kersten frustrated the Memphis offense in a weather-delayed game on Saturday for a 2-0 win.

Kersten pitched six innings of three-hit ball, setting a career-high with eight strikeouts against one walk.

Kersten is most effectively pitching to contact, limiting his pitch count and allowing him to go deep into games, like the 8 2/3 innings he pitched against Boston College. However, he had five strikeouts and a fly out after two innings and he continued to work, getting only three ground outs out of the 21 he notched.

His Tigers’ counterpart on the mound, Jonathan Bowlan, is no slouch. In his last outing, he struck out 18 batters against USF, — both an American Athletic Conference and school record. He also set the pace for punch-outs in Division I this season.

He was almost as effective, but struggled to not allow the Huskies to string hits together. He allowed just six hits in 7 1/3 innings, but all six came from the top four of UConn’s order, allowing a pair of runs to come across the plate.

Memphis committed two errors, one in each of the first two innings, but the Huskies did not score until four consecutive Huskies reached base in the third.

Left fielder John Toppa and shortstop Anthony Prato each singled to put two on with one out. The pair attempted a double steal, which has worked well for the Huskies this season, but Toppa was thrown out at third. Right fielder Isaac Feldstein delivered a two-out RBI to open the scoring.

Susi drove home UConn’s other run on an RBI single down the first base line. Prato, who was standing on second after a wild pitch and a single, brought home an insurance run.

Susi also extended his reached-base streak to 30 games with a third-inning walk.

Jake Wallace and PJ Poulin each allowed a hit, splitting the final three innings in relief of Kersten. In earning his 12th save of the season, Poulin struck out six in two innings.

UConn (27-13-1, 11-6) completes their series with Memphis on Sunday at 2 p.m.