No. 25 UConn had a strong bounce back to the winning dugout this week, beating Central Connecticut State University on Tuesday and then Merrimack College on Wednesday. Last weekend, the Hook C won the series over Kent State University but lost the series finale on Sunday.
The Huskies returned to Elliot Ballpark and made their presence in Storrs loud and clear with a 25-6 win over the CCSU Blue Devils Tuesday afternoon. Going into the game, Central Connecticut was 11-8 on its season and the Blue Devils compete in the Northeast Conference.
Although UConn was the definite winner at the end of eight innings, Central Connecticut dominated the first inning. With a double, a fly ball and a single, CCSU was up 4-0 going into the bottom of the first. By the end of the inning, UConn gave Central Connecticut a run for its money with three runs before the start of the second inning. Off of a single from Ben Huber, both Bryan Padilla and Casey Dana came home. After making it on base, Huber also pushed Zach Bushling to another tally.
CCSU was silent for the second and third innings at bat, and it was UConn’s game from then on.
In the second inning, David Smith singled to bring Kevin Ferrer in before it was Smith’s turn to hit home base off of another single from Padilla. This put UConn in the lead at 5-4, but the best was yet to come for the Huskies.
With Erik Stock making his way to the baselines, Dana’s double led him to third base and Padilla home. For the exclamation point on the incredible early scoring streak, Bushling was up again and hit a home run for a 9-4 game.
While the second inning was a tough act to follow, T.C. Simmons did his best in the third with a strong homer to bring the Huskies’ lead up and the score to 10-4.
Central Connecticut attempted to make a comeback in the fourth inning, but could only produce two more runs. In the same inning, UConn rounded the bases five more times, and the Blue Devils could not keep up. Singles from Dana and Smith contributed to runs, with Smith’s advancement amounting to two more scores for the Hook C. Simmons still had a hot bat and sent the ball far enough out for a triple, allowing Smith and Ferrer to make it a 15-6 game.
Up by nine, the Huskies weren’t even close to proving themselves to the Blue Devils. CCSU went scoreless in the fifth inning, but that didn’t mean UConn needed to follow suit. In a statement hit, Bushling slammed a homerun, bringing Dana and Stock home with him as well as the score up to 18-6 before both teams were dormant in the sixth inning.
The seventh inning was UConn’s final act, scoring six more runs for an eventual 25 on the day. This was the result of getting on base through hitting many singles and keeping the cycle going for the lineup. In classic Simmons-fashion, T.C. hit another triple at the bottom of the eighth to officially call game at 25-6.
Luckily for the Hook C, the bats continued to fly the next day when the team welcomed Merrimack College to Elliot Ballpark. Also a member of the Northeast Conference, the Warriors came to Storrs with an 8-15-1 record so far in its season.
UConn struck first on Wednesday and did so loudly. Stock hit a homerun to right field and with Padilla already on zbase, the Huskies were up by two runs. Merrimack answered with a fly ball capitalized into a scoring opportunity and found itself on the board, but behind by one mark.
Looking to maintain their lead at the bottom of the second, the Huskies were good for three more visits to home plate. A Matt Donlan single brought in Huber, and Stock made use of a throwing error by the Warriors to generate two more scores complimentary of Matt Garbowski and Donlan to make it 5-1.
As if it was déjà vu, Bushling broke the silence of the third inning with another homerun for the second day in a row before the game settled down for the entire duration of the fourth inning.
Things picked back up at the bottom of the fifth inning when the Hook C returned to the batter’s box. Huber shot a double for Bushling and Dana to score two more. Huber ended up coming home as well off of an error by Merrimack that advanced Stock to third.
The sixth and seventh innings seemed to be just filibusters for UConn’s eventual win contributing to the rising action of Korey Morton’s breakthrough homerun. The sophomore hit the ball out to left field, and the score up to 10-1 for another Hook C victory and a two-game win streak.
The Huskies will remain at home for the rest of this week for a three-game series against St. John’s University. Last season, UConn won three out of the four games it played against the Red Storm. All of which were played in New York, so this will be the first time that St. John’s visits Elliot Ballpark, as well as the first Big East opponent that the Hook C has faced this season. The Red Storm is currently 11-18 ahead of this weekend and is on a two-game losing streak as of Tuesday.
St. John’s completed a series against Rider University last weekend, dropping two out of three games. On Tuesday, the Red Storm returned back home for a matchup against Fairfield University but came up short again as Fairfield beat St. John’s 11-5.
The first game of the series will be on Friday, April 8 at 6:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s games will each begin at 1:05 p.m., with coverage by CW20 on Saturday. All games throughout the weekend will be broadcast via ESPN 97.9.