The UConn baseball team defeated Holy Cross 9-6 on Tuesday night, as the offense continues to excel despite a slew of injuries. A four-run fourth gave the Huskies a 7-3 lead and they held on from there, defending their current ranking at No. 20 in the country.
After a convincing showing against conference foe Cincinnati over the weekend, UConn (23-12- 1) continued swinging the bats well at Holy Cross (15-17). Of UConn’s last 15 games, they’ve scored six or more runs in 13 of them and are unsurprisingly 11-3-1 in that span.
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to an error and an RBI groundout from catcher Zac Susi, who returned to the lineup after an injury on Friday. UConn added another in the second, as Michael Woodworth scored on a double steal. The Crusaders pulled even in the third on a bases-clearing triple, making it 3-3 heading to the fourth.
A big fourth inning propelled the Huskies to victory, due to a combination of clutch hitting and some costly mistakes from Holy Cross. Troy Stefanski and Anthony Prato recorded back-to-back RBI singles and the Huskies also came around to score on a balk and a throwing error on a bunt. By the end of the frame it was 7-3 UConn.
Colby Dunlop made his fourth start of the season, as head coach Jim Penders has repeatedly had to adopt the bullpen committee approach due to injuries to the starting rotation. Dunlop went 3.1 innings allowing three. Dan Rajkowski took over with one out and two on in the fourth, working around the jam and then striking out the side in the fifth.
The Huskies broke it open in the sixth, extending the lead to 9-3. Susi made his presence felt again, driving in his second RBI of the evening and Thad Phillips brought home another on a fielder’s choice.
The Crusaders tacked on three runs the rest of the way on two home runs from Alex Volpi, including a two-run blast off CJ Dandeneau in the sixth. That’s all Holy Cross could manage before P.J. Poulin closed the door in the ninth for his conference-leading 10th save of the season.
Rajkowski was credited with the win, his first of the season, as he struck out five over just two innings of work. Stefanski went 3-5 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Weather permitting, UConn is right back in play on Wednesday, this time at home against Rhode Island. Beyond that, the Huskies have a big weekend series against conference opponent Tulane, beginning with a game on Friday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.