The UConn baseball team took down the University of Hartford 9-1 in their home opener. Behind an encouraging outing from Tim Cate, a leadoff homer in the second from Isaac Feldstein, an insurance-run double by Anthony Prato and the barrage of runs scored in the eighth, UConn seemed to have their swagger back.
Junior John Toppa, who had two hits in the game, said he was happy with the result of the game.
“Timmy (Cate) picked us up all day,” Toppa said. “We didn’t have great at bats early in the game, and that was really awesome for him to put us on his back and get the job done.”
Cate was able to silence the Hawks’ offense over 6.2 innings pitched. In the sixth inning with a man on third and two outs, Cate delivered his devastating curve ball that evaded Bryce Walker’s bat to preserve the lead at one.
UConn (13-9) would go on to score seven runs in the eighth inning after sending 12 men to the plate. While the Huskies’ bats were aggressive, they were also patient, drawing six walks.
Hartford (5-16) struggled to get much of anything going against Cate, but managed to muster one run in the ninth when the game was out of reach. Starter Billy DeVito pitched effectively, allowing only one run over five innings.
Even though the win was the highlight of the day, not having to travel is another positive for the Huskies.
“It’s really nice not having to get on a bus or a plane,” Toppa said. “Just being able to get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour will be nice.”
UConn head coach Jim Penders said that playing their home game this late in the season is nothing new for his ball club.
“This is generally when we get to play our home opener and we’re used to it,” Penders said. “I said before the huddle broke, ‘Alright guys, now how this is going to work is the other team gets to hit first.’ We hadn’t done it in the first 21 games and we finally got to do it today which was really nice.”
UConn will be back in action Friday at home against CCSU at 3 p.m. before they have a rematch against UHart Saturday at 3 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford.
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.