Baseball: No. 20 Hook C beats Bryant and conquers CCSU in early week showdowns

UConn baseball secures a win against Bryant University at Eliot Ballpark in Storrs, Conn. on April 11, 2023. The Huskies improve their record to 24-8 on the season. Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus.

New York City is the city that never sleeps, and the No. 20 UConn baseball team found itself no stranger to that mantra during their four-game Big Apple road trip. Back in the Nutmeg State against the CCSU Blue Devils and the Bryant Bulldogs, the Huskies’ pitching staff and hot bats contributed to two comfortable wins to start the workweek. 

Dan Hussey immediately got the Blue Devils on the board as he hammered a 2-1 pitch to right field for his third homer of the season. CCSU loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but Stephen Quigley escaped further trouble in the frame as he struck Robert Chesney out looking. Big East Player of the Week Jake Studley doubled to right field in the bottom of the second, and given the green light, Luke Broadhurst smoked a shot down the left field line that stayed fair for a go-ahead two-run jack. Ryan Daniels extended the Hook C’s lead in the third with an RBI single, allowing Dominic Freeberger to score after he got aboard on a ground-rule double. 

Connecticut added three runs in the fourth against reliever Randy Reyes as two singles and a four-pitch walk loaded the bases before Ben Huber’s single brought two of them home. The Blue Devils could have stopped the bleeding with an inning-ending double play, but Broadhurst made them pay for committing an error with an RBI fielder’s choice. Up by five, the Huskies extended the lead further in the fifth as Bryan Padilla walloped a 2-2 pitch to deep left centerfield for an RBI ground-rule double. 

The Hook C got two runners aboard in the sixth as Huber walked and reliever Tim Buchek hit Broadhurst, but CCSU cut into the deficit in the top of the seventh after escaping the jam unscathed. It started with three straight singles, two of which occurred on the first pitch of the at-bat, and the Blue Devils capitalized on their second bases-loaded chance of the game as Hunter Pasqualini hit a sacrifice groundout. Connecticut got two runners in scoring position for the second straight inning in the bottom half, and after helping limit the damage with a great defensive play, Padilla brought both hitters home with another knock to the warning track. The redshirt sophomore subsequently scored on a sacrifice groundout as UConn crossed double figures for the first time in six days. 

CCSU loaded the bases one final time as Aidan Redahan, Gianno Merlonghi and Michael Torniero all singled to begin the eighth, and after going ahead 3-0, Derek Haughey collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly to potentially begin a rally. Elliot Good singled in another run to cut the deficit to six, but with Zach Fogell in the game, Huber completed a double play by himself to end the threat. Freeberger shut the door in the ninth, striking out the last two batters he faced as the Huskies improved to 2-0 at Dunkin’ Park with a 10-4 victory. 

UConn baseball secures a win against Bryant University at Eliot Ballpark in Storrs, Conn. on April 11, 2023. The Huskies improve their record to 24-8 on the season. Photo by Skyler Kim/The Daily Campus.

Traveling approximately 25 miles east, UConn turned their attention from a current member of the Northeast Conference to a former one as the Bulldogs entered Elliot Ballpark. The Huskies drew first blood as Studley ripped a double to the wall, allowing Huber to score unearned as he had reached second on a throwing error. Jackson Phinney walked to start off the third, but Garrett Coe did not escape the inning unfazed as Jake Gustin doubled to left center, allowing the junior catcher to score from first. 

David Smith singled and stole second to begin the bottom half, and after Freeberger moved him to third on a fly out, Huber gave the Hook C the lead back as he hit a sacrifice groundout. Bryant tied the game once again in the fourth inning as Phinney’s second walk, this time with the bases loaded, tied the game for the second straight inning, but not even that slowed Connecticut’s offense down. UConn got two runners in scoring position when Paul Tammaro grounded out on a sacrifice bunt before Ryan Hyde hit a sacrifice groundout for the team’s second lead of the game. Advancing to third on that play, Korey Morton scored to double the team’s lead when Smith reached on an error. 

Thomas Ellisen escaped a one-out, two-runner situation in the fifth inning, and the Huskies responded by adding two more runs to their lead in the bottom half. What started as two quick outs turned into an offensive outburst as both Broadhurst and Morton whacked the first pitch they saw to left field, the latter scoring the runner all the way from first base. A Tammaro walk and a double steal put more runners into scoring position, and Hyde brought them home with a two-run single that got past two infielders. 

Michael Quigley worked around a leadoff moonshot from John Hosmer with three straight punchouts in the top of the sixth, and the Hook C responded with two in the bottom half. Huber followed up a Freeberger double by hitting one to deep right field on MT Morrissey’s very next pitch, then scored when Broadhurst hit a sacrifice fly. Other than Connecticut getting two runners in scoring position in the seventh, not much happened until Morton stepped back into the batter’s box. After grounding out in his previous at-bat, Morton tattooed a 1-0 pitch over the batter’s eye in centerfield, bringing himself and Drew Korn home for his seventh big fly of the year as UConn again crossed double figures. Justin Willis put the game away with two strikeouts in the ninth to secure the 11-3 Huskies victory. 

The Hook C (24-8, 2-1 Big East) go back on the road for their second Big East series of the year as they take on the Xavier Musketeers, winners of 11 straight. First pitch in Cincinnati is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, April 14, on MIXLR. 

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