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UConn Baseball Takes Down Wichita State in Game 1 at Dunkin Donuts Park

Huskies’ ace Mason Feole pitched his best performance of the season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball opened up a three-game set with the Wichita State Shockers at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford with a 4-0 victory on Friday night. Here’s how it went down:

Feole Twirls a Gem

Mason Feole showed why he’s one of the top pitchers in college baseball on Friday night, tossing a 7.0 inning, 10 strikeout, two-hit performance against the Shockers. After a triceps injury shelved him at the beginning of the season, Feole has been up and down throughout the year, sporting just a 3.94 ERA entering Friday.

However, Feole looked like his old self at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, hitting the low 90’s with his fastball while keeping hitters off balance with his curve. It was only the third time he’s thrown 7.0 innings or more this year and the first time he’s hit double-digit strikeouts.

With UConn losing five of its last seven games, the Huskies need a big performance from their ace and Feole delivered,

Big Third Inning

UConn’s offense saw Wichita State’s pitching well enough to collect eight hits and five walks but left 11 runners on the basepaths. However, the Huskies put together a strong rally in the third inning for three runs — more than enough for Feole.

Centerfielder Michael Woodworth drove home left fielder John Toppa on a single up the middle while moving shortstop Anthony Prato to third. Woodworth took second with a steal before right fielder Kyler Fedko ripped a ball into center to plate Prato and Woodworth and take a 3-0 lead.

UConn didn’t look back from there, eventually adding an insurance run in the seventh off the bat of catcher Thad Phillips to come away with the final score of 4-0.

Wallace Draws Eyes

For most of the night, the rain held off in Hartford with only a few sprinkles popping up during the game. But in the ninth inning, it started to come down a little heavier. There were a handful of major league scouts behind the plate for most of the game but with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and UConn holding a four-run lead, they began to pack up and head up the steps.

But then reliever CJ Dandeneau found himself in some trouble with runners on first and second and head coach Jim Penders emerged from the dugout to call in star closer Jake Wallace for the final out. With the hard-throwing righty coming in, the scouts quickly returned to their seats and pulled out their radar guns.

Wallace didn’t disappoint, hitting as high as 98 mph on the DDP radar gun while sitting at 97 mph. He struck out the sole batter he faced to earn the save and give the Huskies the series-opening win.

Highlights

Up Next

UConn returns to Hartford tomorrow to finish up the series with a double-header starting a 12:30 p.m. Jeff Kersten will take the bump for the Huskies in the first game while Colby Dunlop will get the ball in game two, which will begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.