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UConn wins Big East Tournament opener over Georgetown

The Huskies avoided the loser’s bracket with another late-game comeback.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball found itself in a familiar situation in Friday’s Big East tournament opener against Georgetown and ended the game with a very familiar result. The Huskies trailed entering the bottom of the eighth and scored twice to emerge with a 5-4 victory.

Down 4-3 with six outs until the loser’s bracket, third baseman Dom Freeberger and right fielder Jake Studley both drove in runs via check swing singles: Freeberger’s over the head of the second baseman and Studley’s a slow roller to second. The two mainstays at the top of the Huskies’ order delivered to continue a long run of comeback victories this season.

With the win, the Huskies avoid the losers’ bracket and punched their ticket to the semifinals. UConn will face the winner of the Wednesday night matchup between No. 2 seed Xavier and No. 3 seed Seton Hall. That game will take place on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

Garrett Coe delivered a solid outing as a starter, throwing 5 13 innings. He held the Hoyas scoreless through four, stranding the bases loaded in the first and a runner in scoring position in the fourth, with four strikeouts.

UConn got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run apiece in the third and fourth innings.

The bottom of the lineup got things started: Korey Morton was hit by an errant pitch to start the third and used his superior speed to advance to third base on a single through the left side of the infield from catcher Matt Garbowski. Bryan Padilla ground into a double play next but it did the job and scored Morton to make it 1-0.

In the lineup for the injured TC Simmons, Paul Tammaro offered the Huskies some power in the fourth inning with a leadoff solo home run to make it 2-0.

Coe got into trouble in the fifth inning. Georgetown cut the UConn lead in half with a solo homer from catcher Angelo D’Acunto. The Hoyas took the lead one inning later, with a double from Michael Eze followed by an Austin Kretzschmar two-run homer.

Zach Fogell entered the game and was steady in relief of Coe, posting three innings and striking out four, allowing just one earned run. Justin Willis notched his tenth save of the year, finishing off the final two Hoyas in the win.

UConn tied it up in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run from Luke Broadhurst, his 14th of the year, tied for the team lead. The Hoyas took the lead back in the top of the eighth. But the Huskies’ checked-swing madness put them over the top to earn the win.