UConn’s 2-1 victory over the Fairfield University Stags on Tuesday was the fifth game in a row in which the UConn baseball team has scored three or less runs and the 12th such occasion all season. Head coach Jim Penders bluntly called the offense “terrible.” The players know it, too.
“Coach had what he had to say to us after our performance,” senior Bryan Daniello said. “We didn’t play our best baseball today. We didn’t play with a lot of energy.”
Hits for one
Despite the team only scoring two runs on six hits, one of which Daniello recorded, extending his hitting streak to a team-high 10 games. He has a career reached-base streak of 23, which he accomplished in 2015.
“Personally, I like to jump on fastballs early in the count, especially if I’m leading off the inning or I’ve got runners in scoring position,” Daniello said. “I just try and put a good swing on it, you know? Try to keep my hands in, let the ball get deep, and think to opposite field.”
He doesn’t stand out in any of the major statistical categories, but that doesn’t mean that his presence goes unnoticed.
On the season, Daniello is batting an even .300, second only to sophomore Willy Yahn, who has a six-game hitting streak of his own. Though Daniello typically hits sixth in the order behind Yahn, his presence in the lineup is crucial in getting on base and driving in runs.
His consistency is Daniello’s biggest attribute. After a relatively normal start to the season, he has been getting on base more than any other player as of late.
His on-base percentage sits at .373, which is fourth overall on the team. Daniello has scored 20 runs this season, which is good for third overall on the team.
Especially with the team struggling to hit for a while, Daniello’s hitting streak is probably the most important element for UConn at the moment.
A start to remember
Tuesday’s game marked freshman Ronnie Rossomando’s sixth appearance on the field with the Huskies. Previously, he had pitched 24.0 innings, averaging about 4.8 per game, and had an 0-2 record.
On Tuesday, he went 7.0 innings and walked off the field with a win.
Rossomando earned his first collegiate win after going a collegiate-best seven innings.
After several subpar outings prior to Tuesday, Rossomando said he finally found his groove, as he was able to coax ground balls to make easy outs.
“It was really my fastball, just getting ahead,” Rossomando said when asked which pitch felt the best. “I was also able to throw sliders and changeups for strikes, and I just really kept them off balance and kept pounding them with fastballs.”
This was no easy feat. In the second inning, Rossomando found himself in a loaded bases, no-out jam, he but was able to get a strikeout and induce a double play ball (with the help of his middle infield) to keep Fairfield off the board.
Again in the sixth, Rossomando let up two hits and the Stags’ only run in the game. With two on, one in scoring position and none out, Rossomando again pitched masterfully to get the double play.
He struck out the last batter of the inning to end one of Fairfield’s only real scoring chances all game.
With the offense noticeably lacking in the runs department and the Huskies needing momentum badly going into a big in-conference weekend series, it is crucial for the starting pitchers to not only go deep into games, but to limit the damage to one or two runs per game.
Rossomando did just that and may very well continue to do just that in the future.