When UConn baseball went 2-2 in a road series against Ohio State, it felt like some highs and lows for a team coming off a successful season in 2022. As the Huskies got ready for another trip far from Connecticut, it was time to fix many of those issues.
Friday’s game was a perfect opportunity to get back to business with their ace Ian Cooke back on the mound. The sophomore right-hander was coming off a great performance against the Buckeyes in UConn’s opening day game, a contest in which he allowed three runs in six innings of ball. While the Hook C offense wouldn’t come through for him in the loss, they’d certainly deliver in this one.
Of course, their opponent, the Cal Poly Mustangs, wouldn’t make it easy for UConn. Joe Yorke would bring in catcher Ryan Stafford on a single, followed by a big two-run single by Tate Shimao. It’s certainly not the start you want from Cooke, but just like that, the UConn bats started to come alive.
After a poor series against the Buckeyes, Luke Broadhurst was looking to come through in a big way for the Huskies and the top of the third inning was the start of something special for him. He’d get UConn on the board with a big home run to left field, his first of the season. If you thought the Eastern Connecticut transfer was done, think again. He’d hit another one to left field to make it two home runs on the day.
“It was great to see him break out and get a little more comfortable,” UConn manager Jim Penders remarked.
And just when UConn’s spirits were the highest, the Mustangs would crush them with home runs from Stafford
, and Collin Villegas in the fifth inning, while Wyatt King would tack on another run in the sixth. In total, it would be another four runs for Cal Poly in two innings of ball that were truly demoralizing for the Huskies. Cooke hadn’t had the best day and Thomas Ellisen was in to try and pick up the pieces.
But, while the Mustangs offense were on fire, UConn’s offense had answers. In the top of the seventh, Korey Morton stepped up to the plate and sent a ball into the stands for another show of power for this squad. The Huskies were still in this one and they had to respond just as they did in the team’s 8-6 win over Ohio State, a game where they trailed by a run going into the seventh inning.
The Huskies would run into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh in a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the inning. However, Zach Fogell got out of the jam in a big way with a two-out strikeout to send UConn back to the plate.
In the top of the eighth, Dominic Freeberger would narrow the deficit to just one on a beautiful two-run single. Despite Cal Poly continuing to dominate on offense in a two-run eighth inning, UConn would show the ice in its veins as it’d tie it all up with a three-run ninth inning rally. Incredible late-inning baseball from the Huskies.
“There was no give in in the dugout and that’s how we expect it to be,” said Penders.
“There was no give in in the dugout and that’s how we expect it to be.”Joe Penders, UConn Baseball Team Manager
The deciding run would come on a wild pitch that would score Ben Huber and Devin Kirby would end the game with a scoreless bottom of the 10th inning. An incredible comeback from UConn that would show some incredible fight and yet, it was time to travel to Berkeley for a battle with the Cal Golden Bears.
After the incredible offensive showing, it would certainly be interesting to see what the bats brought today and it certainly took some time to show that. Paulshawn Pasqualotto would begin a really good show of pitching for the Golden Bears, which was highlighted by a four inning performance from Connor Sullivan. It certainly wasn’t ideal for UConn, especially when Cal started to put runs on the board after a two RBI single in the bottom of the fourth from Cade Campbell and a two-run dinger from Rodney Green Jr.
But some hope showed up in the form of Freeberger, one of the heroes of last game’s late inning rally. He’d grab an RBI groundout and Huber would add to the magic with an RBI-double. Could the Huskies replicate their late game heroics from yesterday?
Unfortunately, that just wasn’t in the cards. Despite UConn’s bullpen coming to play, Cal’s bullpen would toss three scoreless innings of baseball to silence any momentum from the Huskies. In the end, UConn would surrender a loss to the Golden Bears by a score of 4-2. UConn now had the opportunity to go 2-1 on its California road trip.
At least, that was the plan until Mother Nature had something else in mind. After just two and a half innings of baseball and three hits from the Huskies, the game would be called by the umpires in what was a sad ending to another weekend of highs and lows on the Huskies California road trip.
With a 1-1 road trip on one side of the country, they’ll fly right back to the sunny weather of Florida for a three game series with Florida Atlantic University.