Baseball: Huskies trample through Pacific road trip 


As students departed campus for spring break, the UConn baseball team was hard at work rolling through their opponents as they continued their early-season road trip. The squad began by kicking off their flip-flops and flexing their muscle by taking three-of-four against the University of Hawaii last weekend before bringing the heat to San Diego State, where the team once again won three-of-four against the Aztecs.  

The Huskies first series against the Rainbow Warriors began back on Friday, March 10, at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu. Hook C ace Ian Cooke got the start for the series opener, a game that Connecticut lost by a score of 8-4. The right-hander allowed six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two walks while striking out five over 3.1 innings and was credited with the loss. Despite a solo homer from Luke Broadhurst and RBI’s via Ben Huber and Bryan Padilla, the UConn offense was unable to string together the runs needed to mount a comeback. Hawaii’s Alex Giroux received the win after not allowing a run and striking out six over 3.2 innings, while Jacob Igawa led the offense with three hits and two RBIs. 

The Hook C offense responded in a major way in game two on Saturday, scapering 13 runs across the plate en route to a 13-8 victory. Every Husky starter tallied a base hit, with Jake Studely, Matt Garbowski, Paul Tammaro and Padilla all compiling three apiece. Tammaro whacked a homer and a double in the contest and drove in two runs, with David Smith (2 H, 2B, 3 R), Broadhurst (2 H, RBI, R), Studley (3 H, 3B, 2 RBIs), and Padilla (3 H, 3B, RBI) all smacking an extra base hit. Devin Kirby was credited with the win for Connecticut after closing the game with 3.1 innings of work, allowing just one run and striking out four. The offensive performance helped UConn mount an early 7-2 deficit and by the ninth inning, the team scored 11 consecutive unanswered runs. 

Connecticut’s bats stayed hot on Sunday’s game three. This time, the Huskies scored two touchdowns in what was a 18-10 win over the Rainbow Warriors. Padilla continued his hot streak with three more hits, including a home run, a double, three RBIs and four runs scored in the matchup. Dominic Freeberger showed a strong eye at the plate with four hits and scored three runs, with Ryan Hyde (2 H, 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 R), Broadhurst (2 H, 2B, 4 RBIs) and Studley (2 H, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 R) all contributing multiple runs batted in. Garrett Coe received the win after navigating through 2.1 innings of action, while Hawaii starter Harrison Bodendorf was credited with the loss after getting knocked for four runs in the first frame. 

UConn pieced together a strong all-around showing to claim a 9-2 win in Monday’s series finale. Jack Sullivan took the mound for Hook C and was efficient, receiving the win for his strong showing. Over five innings, the sophomore allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks, striking out four around the way. The trio of Zach Fogell, Kirby and Justin Willis all provided scoreless efforts to quiet the Rainbow Warriors offense over the final four frames. Huber led the offense with two hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Korey Morton also contributed two hits and a run-scoring sacrifice fly. 

The Hook C was feeling good after leaving the Aloha State with three straight W’s, and their can-do attitude carried on through their next series against San Diego State. Action took place from Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego and began with Thursday’s series opener. The Huskies continued firing on all dynamics, claiming a 10-2 victory in game one. Cooke returned to the mound as his team’s starter and delivered a quality start. The ace worked into the seventh inning, ultimately working through 6.2 innings while allowing just two runs on five hits, striking out six. Kirby and Jude Abbadessa combined scoreless efforts through the eighth and ninth to close the contest. Huber slapped a homer and drove in two runs while also crossing the plate thrice. Studley tallied two hits, including a double, and chased home four RBIs. Ryan Daniels and Morton also smacked extra-base hits. 

Connecticut’s four-game win streak came to an end in Friday’s game two after the Aztecs rallied for four late runs late to mount a two-run deficit. Husky starter Andrew Sears was electric over 5.1 innings, striking out eight while allowing just three hits and no runs. Brady Afthim was strong in relief, working through 1.2 innings with two strikeouts to keep San Diego State scoreless through seven innings. The UConn offense came through with two runs in the seventh via a Padilla homer and a run-scoring error, but the Aztecs were able to rally to take the lead late. First, Poncho Ruiz smashed a three-run homer in the eighth to give his team the lead, with a Maddox Haley RBI-single providing insurance later in the frame. The Huskies were shut down in the ninth by Kelena Sauer, who was credited with a save, while Robert Brodell received the win after 1.2 scoreless innings of work. 

UConn responded with a strong showing en route to a 12-6 victory in Saturday’s game three. Stephen Quigley was tough on the bump, working through five innings while yielding only one run to score one five hits and two walks while striking out four. He was awarded the win for his effort. Freeburger (3 H, RBI, 3 R), Huber (3 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Studley (3 H, 2B, 2 RBI, R) all knocked three hits apiece in a game in which the Huskies compiled 16 hits as a team. Broadhurst, Padilla and Morton were responsible for the remainder of the team’s 10 total RBIs. 

The series concluded with much of the same as the Huskies easily claimed victory, this time with a final score of 10-3. Smith got the Hook C offense off to a quick start with a leadoff homer in the first, one of two homers he would slug in the contest. The other was a grand slam that came in the top of the eighth inning and put the game out of the reach of the Aztecs. Freeberger and Studley also whacked solo homers in the contest. Jack Sullivan was once again elite on the mound as he turned in a quality start. The righty worked through 6.2 innings and allowed two hits while striking out eight. Freeberger, Fogell and Afthim combined to hold the Aztecs to just two runs over the remainder of the contest. 

After going 6-2 over Spring Break, the Huskies are sitting pretty at 12-5 (.706) through their first 17 games of the season. Their next game will be their first true home game when they suit up at Elliott Ballpark in Storrs, Connecticut for a midweek matchup against the University of Massachusetts followed by a weekend series against Rutgers University. The Amherst game is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, while the Scarlet Knights will play three games in Storrs from Friday, March 24 to Saturday, March 26. All four games can be watched via UConn’s streaming service, UConn+, or fans can tune into the live broadcast audio via MIXLR. 

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