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UConn baseball earns Big East Tournament championship with victory over Xavier

The Huskies top the conference for the second year in a row and will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball secured its second-straight Big East championship on Sunday with a 7-2 win over Xavier.

The conference tournament victory marks the fifth time that the Huskies have hoisted the trophy in the Big East and hands them their fourth-straight ticket to the NCAA tournament.

After dispatching Georgetown in game one of the tournament on Thursday and taking care of Creighton handily on Saturday afternoon, the Huskies put away Xavier in the championship with early offense and a solid pitching performance.

UConn scored five runs in the first two innings to jump on the Musketeers right off the bat, assisted by a few freebies from the Xaver pitching staff. David Smith led off the game getting hit by a pitch and stole second on a late throw from behind the plate. Casey Dana also got hit by a pitch and Ben Huber walked on four straight balls, loading up the bases for Matt Donlan, who drove in a pair on a line drive, which was questionably played by the Xavier infield.

The bottom of the UConn lineup brought the power in the second inning, as a double from T.C. Simmons set up Bryan Padilla for a two-run blast that put the Huskies up 4-0. Erik Stock tacked on another via an RBI single up the middle.

Enzo Stefanoni started the game and pitched well through three, but allowed a pair of earned runs in the fourth inning and passed the rock to left-hander Garrett Coe, who settled down and posted 4 innings of one-hit ball, allowing one hit and zero walks.

The Huskies got a pair of insurance runs back in the seventh inning from a pair of RBI singles from Padilla and Simmons again. Devin Kirby was handed the ball for the eighth inning and earned a five-out save.

UConn baseball has itself a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but their opponent will be determined on Monday at Noon EST during the NCAA Tournament selection show airing on ESPN2.