UConn baseball took a big step toward turning their 2021 campaign around this weekend with a 2-1 series win over St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia. This was the first time this season that the Huskies won a series.
Hook C started out strong with a 6-4 win on Friday before coming up short Saturday in a 9-8 loss. The Huskies got back to their winning ways in the rubber game of the series on Sunday, beating the Hawks 13-0 in arguably their best all-around performance of the season.
The Huskies now sit at 7-11 on the year and take a step in the right direction as they try to make up for their worst start since 2001. Here’s a closer look at the Huskies’ recent road trip to Philly:
UConn was able to snap their five-game losing streak with a 6-4 win on Friday afternoon that was never as close as the score would suggest.
Ben Casparius was dealing on Friday en route to his second career win as a UConn starter. He recorded 6.2 innings pitched and struck out 11 while surrendering just two walks and four hits. This was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
Casparius didn’t have the best control early on, however. After giving up a one-out double to St. Joseph’s hot-hitting shortstop Luca Trigiani, he followed that up with a pair of wild pitches that sent Trigiani home to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.
UConn responded right away via Christian Fedko, who pounded a bases-clearing double down the left field line after Reggie Crawford, Kyler Fedko, and Patrick Winkel reached on two singles and a walk. Ciaran Devenney followed that up with an RBI groundout to send Christian Fedko home.
Huskies Lead!— UConn Baseball (@UConnBSB) March 19, 2021
Christian with a bases-clearing double to make it 3-1 ‘Skies! pic.twitter.com/aDMytMtYha
Crawford set up another scoring opportunity on a silver platter in the sixth inning. He got on base with a double to the wall in left field, then moved to third on a Christian Fedko groundout before heading home on a Kevin Ferrer RBI grounder that put the Huskies up 5-1.
The only real bit of trouble for UConn came in the sixth inning, where three St. Joseph’s runs scored on a throwing error after a single to right field, but Casparius recovered well to strike out the next two Hawks and retain the 5-4 lead.
Big time from Benny to get out of the 6th! pic.twitter.com/giTTqHIHzS— UConn Baseball (@UConnBSB) March 19, 2021
Kyler Fedko came up clutch again in the next frame, with an RBI single to push the lead back to 6-4. That was more than enough for Kenny Haus and Caleb Wurster, who combined for 2.1 innings of shutout ball to end the game.
UConn fell back into familiar habits on Saturday, giving up too many runs early, then rallying in a vain attempt to score a comeback win.
Joe Simeone had another Saturday start to forget, allowing three runs and three hits in 4.0 innings of work. He exited the game in the fifth during a pivotal stretch in the game that proved to be disastrous for the Huskies. He walked the first batter before being pulled by Penders in favor of freshman Pat Gallagher, but Gallagher didn’t fare much better in relief.
It was 8-1 in the eighth inning when the UConn offense decided to wake up. Kyler Fedko, Patrick Winkel, and Christian Fedko all singled to load the bases, and you just knew something big was going to happen when Reggie Crawford stepped up to the plate.
Grand Slam for Reggie makes this a 8-5 deficit in the 8th! pic.twitter.com/H7Z4SSQgQh— UConn Baseball (@UConnBSB) March 20, 2021
The freshman’s grand slam to right field put UConn right back in it, and they would fight until the very end. Third baseman Chris Brown started off the ninth inning with a single, Kyler Fedko followed with a double, then Patrick Winkel did his job and sent Brown home from third with an RBI groundout. Erik Stock followed it up with a two-RBI single before Ferrer grounded out to end the game and dash the Huskies’ dreams of a comeback.
With their backs unexpectedly against the wall, UConn baseball blew away St. Joseph’s 13-0 with a dominant performance that helped secure the team’s first series win of the year.
Austin Peterson was superb on the mound for the Huskies, putting in 7.1 innings of shutout work with eight strikeouts, while allowing just two hits and one walk.
Austin was awesome today with 7.1 shutout innings and eight strikeouts! pic.twitter.com/fo4nfyd7RN— UConn Baseball (@UConnBSB) March 21, 2021
UConn’s offense came from the usual suspects including Kyler Fedko, who continued his tremendous run of games by going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the year and three runs batted in. Patrick Winkel got in on the action as well and went 3-for-5 with another homer and three RBI.
Sunday Yard Work for Pat!— UConn Baseball (@UConnBSB) March 21, 2021
Second of the year for Winkel makes it 2-0 ‘Skies! pic.twitter.com/EGEfQo0uWS
Bushling was his usual on-base machine at the top of the order, getting on base and coming around to score in all four of his at-bats. After a quiet weekend prior, Kevin Ferrer joined in the fun with three hits, including a two-run double in the eighth to push the UConn lead to double digits.
With the game truly in hand in the ninth inning, Crawford took the mound in the ninth inning and sat down three Hawks in a row, touching high 90’s on the gun and firing the Huskies into a series win.
UConn will next take the field on Wednesday at 3 p.m. when they’ll welcome the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State to Storrs for their first home game of the season. This contest will have historical significance as well, as it will be the Huskies’ first game at Elliot Ballpark.