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UConn baseball splits doubleheader with Xavier

The Huskies achieve mixed results in their return to the field after two weeks off due to COVID-19 protocols.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On Sunday, UConn baseball returned from a two-week, COVID-related hiatus to face the Xavier Musketeers in a doubleheader. The Huskies looked a bit rusty early on in the day and lost the first game of the series, 5-0, but bounced back to take the second game, 8-5.

With the split, UConn moves to 17-13 on the year and 3-1 in Big East play. Here’s how it went down:

Game One:

In the first game of the series, UConn looked very much like a team that hadn’t played a game in 14 days. Defensive and baserunning mistakes plagued the Huskies and they accrued fewer runs than errors.

While their defense was certainly underwhelming, UConn’s offense didn’t leave much to be desired either. The Huskies were on the wrong side of a seven-inning complete-game shutout thrown by Xavier ace Nick Zwack, who struck out eight batters while walking just two.

Kevin Ferrer, David Langer, and Erik Stock provided the only offense for UConn in the game, adding two hits apiece, after Langer got the start at third base and Stock returned to left field after missing time for an undisclosed injury.

Ben Casparius didn’t have a start to remember, allowing five hits and five earned runs while failing to get out of the fifth inning.

Game Two:

UConn needed to respond in the second game of the doubleheader to keep their hopes of winning the series alive, and they did just that with an 8-5 victory that gave the program its first W in two weeks.

David Langer and Erik Stock continued to make the most of their time back in the lineup by powering the Huskies’ offensive efforts. Langer’s line-drive home run to left field in the third inning got the Huskies on the board and his patience at the plate earned him three free passes throughout the game. Stock also smashed a home run and added a sacrifice fly to drive in two runs for the Huskies.

Slugging first baseman Reggie Crawford followed up Langer’s homer in the third with a dinger of his own, a towering two-run blast for his league-leading ninth of the year.

The Musketeers stormed back with three runs of their own in the fourth and fifth innings, so the Huskies responded with a sacrifice fly from Erik Stock and a two-run double from Kyler Fedko.

Starting pitcher Austin Peterson didn’t have his best night on the mound, but he didn’t need it with the run support the UConn offense gave him.

Back-to-back home runs from Stock and Chris Winkel extended the Huskies’ lead to 8-3 in the eighth inning before Peterson handed the ball off to Kenny Haus and Caleb Wurster.

Wurster secured the save, but not before allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

UConn is back in action on Monday, continuing their weekend series against Xavier at 3 p.m.