With a solid start by P.J. Poulin, the UConn baseball team defeated UMass Amherst 11-3 on Tuesday at J.O. Christian Field.
Poulin got his fourth career start against the Minutemen putting in five innings of work, striking out five and allowing just one run. The Massachusetts native got the start due to Tuesday’s game being the Huskies fifth in six days.
“It feels awesome, being able to stay out there and execute my pitches and get guys out,” Poulin said. ”It feels great. Obviously, I want to go out there whenever I can.”
The Huskies gave Poulin plenty of support on offense with 18 hits and 11 runs. Seven Huskies had multi-hit games, with first baseman Chris Winkel leading the team with three hits and three RBI.
“I was just sticking with the approach kind of trusting the process and reacting,” Winkel said. “We had a good scouting report on the pitches we faced and so I was kind of relying on that a little bit.”
Winkel also attributed his success to the geographic proximity of the two programs.
“A lot of the time we will have kids on the team play with the kids we’re facing either in high school or summer ball so we have a lot of good information on them,” Winkel said.
In the bottom of the third inning UConn took the lead and did not look back. Freshman Anthony Prato drew a walk to lead off the inning, before moving to second on a balk by Kevin Hassett. A Troy Stefanski single would drive Prato home. Later in the inning, Isaac Feldstein singled to right and the ball was mishandled by the UMass right fielder allowing Stefanski to score and bringing the Huskies lead to 3-1.
The Huskies added one more run to their lead in the fifth before a seven-run outburst in the seventh inning. In the seventh, a Winkel double scored Feldstein and John Toppa. Prato also had two RBI in the inning as his single drove home Kenny Bergmann and Winkel.
“I don't remember the last time we’ve done that or if we have done that this year. We finally had a little relaxation in the dugout if there is such a thing. We were able to breathe and have a little more fun today,” head coach Jim Penders said.
This weekend UConn returns to American Athletic Conference action when they travel to Orlando, Florida to take on Central Florida. The Huskies are currently on a three-game losing streak in the American and will look to break their skid against the Knights.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.