Baseball: Thanks in large part to pitching, UConn snags a series win over Seton Hall with Sunday shutout

The Huskies played the Fairfield College Stags, last season on 4/12/16 at J.O. Christian Field.  After a short rain delay, the Huskies took the lead early on in the game, and held on to win 2-1 over the Stags. The Huskies have yet to play a home game this year. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

An unexpected trip to New Jersey this weekend didn’t stop the UConn Huskies baseball team from earning a 2-1 series win over the Seton Hall Pirates in their final non-conference series of the year. The “unexpected” part was due to of a late change in the schedule because of unplayable field conditions at J.O. Christian Field, forcing the Huskies to play on the road instead.

On Friday, March 24’s series opener, UConn went with a bit of a committee approach on the mound, starting Ronnie Rossomando before handing duties over to the bullpen. The hard-throwing sophomore allowed zero hits and struck out four batters in just three innings of work, before senior Doug Domnarski came on in the fourth. Domnarski allowed the Pirates to score a run in the fifth inning and gave up their only three hits of the game, but otherwise had a solid performance.

Meanwhile, the Huskies’ offense was not at its best Friday night. Through seven innings, UConn only managed three hits and no runs. However, after redshirt freshman Jack Lambrecht and junior Willy Yahn got on base in the top of the eighth inning, Zac Susi was incredibly clutch at the plate. The sophomore catcher delivered with a huge two RBI double to grab a 2-1 lead and the Huskies never looked back, as right-handers Ryan Radue and John Russell sealed the deal on the mound.

Saturday, March 25’s game against the Pirates was more of the same for the UConn offense. In fact, they only managed four hits going into the ninth inning. The only form of offense up until that point was a Tyler Gnesda solo home run to left center in the 2nd inning.

On the mound for the Huskies in game two, was junior star pitcher, Wills Montgomerie, who is among the nation’s leaders in strikeouts and went into the game with a 4-0 record. While Montgomerie didn’t have a bad performance, it definitely was not his best. The righty allowed only four hits in six innings of work, but walked five batters and gave up two runs. It seemed as though his strikeout pitch wasn’t working well either, as he only mustered five Ks on the day.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth inning, UConn almost managed a second consecutive comeback win after Troy Stefanski made it 3-2 with an RBI double. The Huskies had an opportunity to tie or take the lead with the bases loaded and two outs, but their rally efforts were thwarted when freshman Anthony Prato popped up to end the ball game.

In the rubber match Sunday afternoon, UConn had a slow start on offense again, but made up for that in the top of the sixth inning when a Yahn two RBI double down the left field line brought home Prato and Chris Winkel. Immediately after, Susi drove home Yahn with a base hit to center field, giving the Huskies a 3-0 lead. Gnesda would extend the lead in the eighth inning after grounding into a double play with the bases loaded, bringing Yahn home for his second run of the game.

On the mound, freshman southpaw Mason Feole had a fabulous game in just five innings of work. Feole struck out a career-high eight batters, allowing zero runs on just one hit and five walks. In what was a truly spectacular performance, and hopefully a sign of things to come, the freshman advanced to 3-0 on the year as UConn shutout the Pirates 4-0 to win the game and the series.

Next up, the Huskies will take on the Boston College Eagles on Tuesday, March 28 at J.O. Christian Field, presuming that the field conditions are playable. If that is not the case, the game may either be moved to Boston College or postponed. The Huskies will also have a game on Wednesday afternoon at Fairfield University, field conditions permitting.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.