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UConn baseball beats UMass twice in doubleheader to sweep series

The Huskies’ total domination of UMass puts them over .500 for the first time this year.

UConn’s Chris Brown is congratulated by head coach Jim Penders after a three-run double in the 4th inning of the second game of a doubleheader vs UMass.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball secured a series sweep against UMass after winning two games on Saturday, besting the Minutemen 11-1 on the run rule, then 7-3.

The Huskies move to 12-11 in 2021 with their first series sweep of the season and are now over .500 on the year after going 9-2 in their last 11 games.

“We hadn’t done that yet so it was nice to get it under our belt,” head coach Jim Penders said. “We got a really important game here on Tuesday, Bryant is always ready to go against us and we expect their best punch, so it was nice to also kind of carry some momentum into that game.”

Game one

UConn picked up right where it left off on Friday in the first game of the doubleheader.

Zach Bushling, Kyler Fedko, and Reggie Crawford hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to walk the Minutemen off via “mercy” rule, leading 10 runs with one inning left to play. Bushling’s was an inside-the-park homer, slipping past the diving glove of the centerfielder.

Every Husky in the lineup recorded a hit and most had more than one. Christian Fedko led the way, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.

UConn jumped on UMass early in the game with a five-run fifth inning. Chris Brown got on base with a one-out single, then Kyler Fedko, Crawford, Patrick Winkel, Christian Fedko, and Erik Stock mashed five straight hits to clear the bases.

Starter Austin Peterson was happy to roll with the run support, throwing 6.0 nearly-perfect innings while allowing four hits, striking out eight, and walking three. His only blemish was a solo home run in the fourth inning.

Randy Polonia mopped up after him, throwing two scoreless innings in relief.

Game two

UConn completed the series sweep in the day’s second game, as a big fourth inning paved the way for a 7-3 victory.

Eight free passes from the UMass pitching staff made it easy on the Huskies, with the win taking them to over .500 for the first time in 2021.

UConn kicked off the second inning with an RBI single from Chris Winkel to score Erik Stock, who reached on a single, stole second, and reached third on a wild pitch.

The Huskies pulled away after scoring six in the fourth. A walk and four singles loaded up the bases and scored two, but the inning was punctuated by a bases-clearing double from Chris Brown, drawing wild cheers from an enthusiastic section of students who gathered on the berm down the first baseline. Kyler Fedko followed him up with an RBI double of his own, completing the scoring.

The freshman third baseman had his best weekend yet with the Huskies, going 4-for-10 with 4 RBI on the weekend.

Starting pitcher Joe Simeone also had his best weekend to date, getting through 5.0 innings without allowing a run, striking out eight.

“It was great, you know, it’s fun anytime you can contribute to a team win,” Simeone said after the game. “I was due for one so it’s great to help the boys get back on track. We’re all rolling, and we played really well today.”

Andrew Marrero and Caleb Wurster each got an inning late in the contest to keep them fresh, their only appearances of the weekend.

Saturday’s second win marked Penders’ 1,000th game as UConn head coach.

UConn will be back in action on Tuesday against Bryant, in what is historically one of the harder-fought midweek games of the Huskies’ season.

Game 1 gallery

Game 2 gallery