After scoring at least seven runs in their last five games, No. 24 UConn’s red-hot offense didn’t sputter at all during a blustery game at UMass Lowell.
Seven different Huskies crossed homeplate as UConn ran up the scoreboard in a 14-7 victory over the Riverhawks.
“The guys swung the bats well,” said head coach Jim Penders. “We knew we had to keep coming, keep scoring.”
The runs came early for the Huskies when Zac Susi drove in John Toppa and Anthony Prato on a two-run single into right field in the top of the first inning. Russ Olive tied the game for UMass Lowell when he rocketed a ball over the fence for a two-run home run. The Riverhawks grabbed a brief 3-2 lead when Steve Passatempo hit a solo shot in the fourth inning.
The lead was erased when UConn first baseman Chris Winkel responded with a solo home run of his own to knot the game at 3-3 in the fifth. The Huskies added six more runs in the inning off two doubles from Thad Phillips and Troy Stefanski and a single from Christian Fedko to extend the lead to 9-3.
The Riverhawks did respond with four runs in the bottom of the frame to ensure the game didn’t get away from them. Colby Maiola hit a homer over the right field fence, Ted Leathersich had an RBI double and Cam Climo added two runs on an RBI single.
The seventh inning was also huge for UConn as the Huskies tacked on four more runs. Stefanski started off the frame with an RBI single into left field and Mike Woodworth followed up with a two-run single of his own. Thad Phillips also scored on a wild pitch. Stefanski completed his four-RBI night with a sac-fly in the eighth inning.
Although they didn’t end up needing it, the late offensive explosion is always necessary against a team like the Riverhawks, according to Penders.
“We know they’ve got an explosive offense, especially with the way the wind was blowing today,” Penders said. “It was a little bit of breathing room. We haven’t had that all year.”
Reliever Joe Simeone put a bow on the victory for the Huskies with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Starting Pitcher Jeff Kersten gave the Huskies three innings of work, striking out four and giving up two hits. Jacob Wallace was also lights out in relief, striking out three of the eight batters he faced in two innings.
The Huskies did pull Toppa during the middle of the game after he was hit by a pitch and aggravated an old injury on his elbow.
“Hopefully we have him back from the weekend,” Penders said.
The Huskies will stay on the road when they travel to face conference-leading Cincinnati this Friday. First pitch from Marge Schott Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.