Baseball: Huskies complete second conference sweep of the season

Willy Yahn fields a ground ball during UConn's weekend sweep over Memphis at J.O. Christian Field. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Willy Yahn fields a ground ball during UConn's weekend sweep over Memphis at J.O. Christian Field. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s baseball team (19-10, 6-0 The American) continued their perfect start in American Athletic conference play this weekend with a sweep over Memphis (20-12, 2-4 The American), 6-2, 10-7 and 4-0.

After sweeping East Carolina last week, the Huskies are off to a 6-0 start in conference play for the first time since 1976 when UConn was in the Yankee Conference.

“Overall I’m really impressed with our guys this weekend to have enough hunger to come out with that energy to get it done Sunday against a good team,” Head Coach Jim Penders said after completing the sweep on Sunday.

John Toppa and Zac Susi had big weekends for the Huskies at the plate. Both players registered multi-hit games in all three games this weekend.

“I am just trying not to do too much I’m having a really good approach at the plate and having fun,” Susi said.

UConn's Tim Cate was dealing in Game 1 of the series on Saturday. He went seven innings giving up two runs while striking out 10. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

UConn's Tim Cate was dealing in Game 1 of the series on Saturday. He went seven innings giving up two runs while striking out 10. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

In Game 1 ace Tim Cate was on the mound for UConn pitching seven innings against the Tigers, allowing just five hits and two runs and striking out 10 for his third win of the season.

Susi went 3-4 on the day with a homerun and 3 RBI to give the Huskies the game winning lead. Toppa gave the Huskies their first lead of the day in the fifth with a two-run single to move the Huskies ahead 4-2.

Game 2 was a much more fought game as Wills Montgomerie struggled on the mound for the Huskies. Montgomerie gave up 5 earned runs in two innings of work including four in the first. The Huskies came right back in the bottom of the first with five runs to take the lead. Outfielder Isaac Feldstein smacked a bases-clearing double off Memphis’ Drew Crosby to spark the offense.

After the back and forth through the early part of the game the UConn bullpen pitched six shutout innings to secure the Huskies win. CJ Dandeneau picked up the win after pitching three innings and allowing zero hits and striking out two.

Despite going down early coach Penders maintained faith in his team.

“I was really proud of the way our bullpen stepped up. All of those guys did a really nice job,” Penders said.“I was whispering to coach Des, ’Let’s see how they handle it,’ and if we didn't like it I was prepared to scramble some guys.”

On Sunday, Mason Feole pitched a gem to complete the sweep for the Huskies. The southpaw pitched eight shutout-innings and retired the last 10 batters that he faced. Feole has been on fire recently and has pitched 20 straight innings without giving up a single earned run.

A two-run single by Conor Moriarty brought the score to 4-0 securing the lead and the win for UConn.

“It’s an awesome team win it’s great to beat a team like Memphis and we get to play at the JOC this whole weekend and it was a great team win,” Feole said. “We were really just working fastball changeup and it was locating good down in the zone.”

The Huskies return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Rhode Island to take on Bryant before traveling to New Orleans to take on conference foe Tulane during the weekend.


Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at antonio.salazar@uconn.edu.