After cruising through against Hawai’i in their first series of spring break, UConn baseball kept the good times rolling this weekend with a 3-1 series victory against San Diego State.
The Huskies split the first two games of the four-game set, but rallied to win 12-6 and 10-3 on Saturday and Sunday, moving to 12-5 overall on the year.
Here’s how it went down:
Carrying the momentum from its series win last weekend, UConn took the opener against San Diego State by a score of 10-2, riding a quality outing from starter Ian Cooke.
Cooke delivered 6 2⁄3 innings of work over 109 pitches, both season highs, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out six in the process. Cooke got into a groove in the middle of his start, sitting down 13 batters in a row from the third to the seventh inning.
The Huskies' offense wasn’t the fieriest that it had been all year, but they converted when it mattered, scoring 10 runs on 10 hits, with four doubles and a home run.
The Aztecs struck first with a solo home run in the first inning and added a second two innings later, but UConn kept pace with a two-run shot in the third inning from Ben Huber, his third of the year.
UConn added a run in the fourth inning off an RBI double from freshman Ryan Daniels and another in the fifth courtesy of a Luke Broadhurst single.
Daniels and Broadhurst joined Dominic Freeberger and Jake Studley as Huskies with multi-hit nights.
Studley was a one-man wrecking crew late in the game, with a pair of two-RBI doubles which, along with another RBI single from Broadhurst, took the game from 4-2 in the fifth to 10-2 in the eighth, where it would stay for the rest of the game.
The Huskies dropped their sole game of the series on Saturday night, 4-2, in a game where the usually high-flying offense couldn’t quite get off the ground.
The game was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel to start, with UConn’s tall left-hander Andrew Sears doing battle with San Diego State’s TJ Fondtain. Neither pitcher allowed a run in their start, and Sears finished the day with 5 1⁄3 innings pitched, striking out eight and allowing just one walk and three hits.
Brady Afthim relieved Sears and continued to deal, throwing 1 2⁄3 one-hit innings, but the back half of the Huskies’ bullpen ultimately cost them the game. Zach Fogell and Justin Willis but had uncharacteristically bad outings, combining to surrender all four of the Aztecs’ runs on four hits in a sloppy bottom of the eighth.
UConn scored its only two runs in the top of the seventh inning, off a home run from Bryan Padilla and an error on a hard-hit ground ball from Ben Huber.
The Huskies bounced back on Saturday with a signature offensive performance, with 16 hits in their 12-6 victory over San Diego State, taking back the series lead.
Dominic Freeberger, Jake Studley and Ben Huber were the engines behind the offensive outburst, each recording three hits on the night and combining to record six RBI.
Shortstop Bryan Padilla also recorded a multi-hit night, going 2-for-5 with an RBI double, one of two two-baggers that brought in a run to help UConn some breathing room in the ninth.
UConn went up 1-0 in the first inning, as David Smith came around to score after a leadoff double. The Huskies put up a crooked number in the third inning, after RBI singles from Freeberger, Huber and Studley before Luke Broadhurst scored on a failed pickoff attempt.
The Huskies put up three more runs in the fifth inning to make it 8-0, including a two-RBI single from Korey Morton, then followed it up in the sixth with a two-RBI double from Huber.
UConn received solid pitching from starter Stephen Quigley in the contest, throwing five full innings and allowing just one earned run, striking out four.
UConn finished off the series win with an emphatic 10-3 victory over San Diego State on Sunday.
The Huskies received an offensive boost from David Smith, who recorded the first multi-home run night for UConn all season, including a leadoff homer in the first inning and a grand slam in the eighth inning, putting an exclamation point on the seven-run victory.
Three other Huskies recorded multi-hit games, including Dominic Freeberger, Ben Huber and Korey Morton. Freeberger and Jake Studley added to the long ball party, with one solo home run each.
Starter Jack Sullivan earned the victory with a season-high 6 2⁄3 innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out a career-high eight batters.
Not content with his success at the plate, Freeberger closed out the game on the mound with a perfect ninth inning.
UConn will be back in action on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. against UMass in its first home game of the 2023 season.