Baseball: Huskies take down Eagles in last meeting at JOC

Sophomore Colby Dunlop led the Huskies on the bump Wednesday afternoon. (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

March may not be the warmest time of year for baseball teams in the Northeast, but that did not stop the Huskies from winning their first two home games of the season, including a 3-1 win over Boston College, at J.O Christian Field.

After a 12-4 rout of the University of Hartford in the season opener, UConn (15-8, 2-1 The American) relied on Colby Dunlop & Co. in defeating the Eagles Wednesday afternoon.

“I thought he was fantastic. I thought Colby did a really good job,” head coach Jim Penders said on his mid-week starter. “He gives up some hits, and that’s okay and he needs to understand that. When he gives up hits, you can still win the game. It’s when you give up hit, walk, hit batsman, then a single: that’s when you can’t give up hits. You can’t give the freebies in between hits. He didn't give up any freebies.”

Dunlop did give up some hits, scattering six of them over his five innings of work, but kept the freebies to a minimum. The lone BC (12-12, 3-6 ACC) score, by way of an error, did not hold Dunlop back from his fifth win of 2019. The sophomore right-hander has given up just one earned-run in his last 14 and a third innings on the hill (five appearances, two starts).

Caleb Wurster was the first arm out the Huskies bullpen. Entering the game in the sixth, Wurster dominated. It was six up and six down in Wurster’s two innings of relief, including a strikeout. The lefty redshirt freshman had struggled early on, but like the rest of the UConn bullpen, has settled down of late.

“I think the biggest key for me has been just staying calm, staying focused,” Wurster said. “I think in those first couple outings I just got out there and I was too worried about making mistakes and I just had to go out there and trust my stuff and just rely on what coaches taught me and what I’ve done my whole life.”

C.J Dandeneau was next in line out of the ‘pen. Entering in the eighth, the 6-foot-1 righty struck out two and made a bare-handed snag on a ridiculous bounce off the mound to make the out at first, in his one inning of work.

Jacob Wallace shut the door in the ninth, needing only 12 pitches and a pair of strikeouts to grab his seventh save on the year.

The bats were not as loud Wednesday as they had been in the home opener, but to no fault of Mike Woodworth. Though he was playing second instead of roaming center field, Woodworth still batted leadoff and ripped a triple into right field in the bottom of the first. A single in the eighth inning secured the team’s leader in five offensive categories, with his team-high 12th multi-hit game of 2019.

“I’ve just been trying to put the barrel on the ball and take better swings and get pitches that I can hit well. And it’s been finding holes for me,” Woodworth said of his hot start.

Anthony Prato, the other Husky with a multi-hit effort (2-for-4), let Woodworth come home when he sent a double to almost the same spot as Woodworth’s triple.

John Toppa followed with a shot to the gap that was bound to be the tri-captain’s third long ball of the season, but BC centerfielder Sal Frelick made a spectacular grab, jumping at the wall to bring it back for the out.

“Sal Frelick is a heck of a ball player,” Penders said. “It was the first time I’ve seen him in person… He’s gonna be a great player.”

Prato advanced on the long out and came home on a Chris Winkel sacrifice fly a batter later.

Two innings later in the fourth, senior Thad Phillips sent a pitch to right field, allowing Christian Fedko to make his way around the base paths for the Huskies’ third and final run of the day.

UConn has now won its last three contests as they prepare for a weekend series of conference baseball down in Florida. Starting Friday night, the Huskies take on the UCF Knights in a three-game set.


Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.arnold@uconn.edu.