The Huskies haven’t played on the Hartford field since 2019, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to own Dunkin’ Donuts Park. UConn welcomed Marist College to Hartford for a Tuesday evening matchup and went back to Storrs with a 15-4 win.
The Red Foxes were the first to generate some hits at the top of the first inning off pitches from Ian Cooke, who started on the mound for the Huskies and pitched through the second inning. Although Marist scored two runs in the first, Cooke had a total of four strikeouts and only allowed three hits.
At the bottom of the second inning, the Huskies got hot and never looked back. David Smith hit a respectable single but was able to make it to second base in order to send in both Korey Morton and Ben Huber for a tie game. Shortly after, Bryan Padilla had a single of his own and it was Smith’s turn to come home and take the lead that the Hook C would hold on to for the rest of the game.
Marist pitcher John Hacker continued to feed UConn solid strikes into the third and fourth innings after taking over for Drake Quinn, who only pitched for an inning. Matt Donlan made it to the bases as the Red Foxes chose to throw Huber out, but Zach Bushling snuck by for another run to bring the score up to 4-2 at the bottom of the third.
For his eighth homerun as a Husky, Casey Dana slammed another homer out to left field and in doing so, allowed Padilla to share the joy of crossing home plate for another two runs on UConn’s score. At the bottom of the fourth, this was the last inning that Marist’s Hacker would pitch in on Tuesday night.
The fifth inning and the top of the sixth saw little action from either team, but UConn was determined to extend its lead heading into the second half. Huber and Matt Donlan both contributed to the rising action with singles that brought in a runner for each hit, making it 8-2 UConn courtesy of pitches from Marist’s Jack Wren. Wren pitched for about an inning and a quarter and allowed five runs, four of which were hits.
Little did Marist know, bringing Trevor Backman wouldn’t put a halt to UConn’s scoring. The bullpen rotation didn’t throw off Smith, who couldn’t have returned to the batter’s box at a better time as Donlan and Huber were still on base. Smith shot a home run and made the most of it with the two Huskies out on the diamond coming in with him to drive up UConn’s lead to 11 runs to close out the sixth.
Not having scored since the first inning, the Red Foxes were concentrated on UConn pitcher Jack Sullivan’s arm and determined to close the margin of Hook C’s eventual victory. Sullivan was the fifth pitcher that UConn played, with each member of the bullpen pitching approximately one inning. Cooke was the only exception with two. Nonetheless, Sullivan was the only Husky that Marist could find a pitch to hit off of. At the top of the seventh, the score was 11-3 from a ground ball to generate an unearned run for the Red Foxes.
Despite the lead UConn had for the majority of the game, Hook C was quick to answer. With Backman still on the mound, Bushling hit a fast single to send Dana back to the dugout with another tally for UConn. Not that UConn needed any insurance runs, but Donlan was there to add three more with a homerun that Huber and Bushling each ran home for as well.
Cole Chudoba carried UConn defensively for the final two innings, only allowing Marist one hit and one run in the top of the eighth. The Red Foxes were able to leave Hartford with four runs, trampled by UConn’s 15.
Tuesday’s win extends UConn’s win streak to six, putting the Hook C’s record at 25-7 on the season. This past week, UConn jumped from No. 25 to No. 18 in national rankings and looks to continue climbing with more success on the diamond.
The Huskies next chance to do so will be on Thursday, April 14 as they take off on a road trip down to New Jersey to face Seton Hall for a three-game series back in Big East play.