Connecticut Upends USF, 7-2, in Opening Round Action

CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
HIGHLIGHTS
INTERVIEW WITH DAVID FISCHER
INTERVIEW WITH JIM PENDERS

CLEARWATER, Fla. - All nine Connecticut batters had at least one hit as the Huskies rode a 14-hit performance to a 7-2 win against USF Wednesday night in the opening round of the 2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship at Bright House Field.

The Huskies (30-25-1), seeded No. 5 in the tournament, advance to face top-seeded Louisville in a winners' bracket game Thursday at 8 p.m. No. 4-seeded USF (34-21) will face Pittsburgh, the No. 8 seed, in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Huskies, who dropped three regular-season meetings with USF earlier this season, gained a 2-1 lead after three innings, held a 4-1 lead after six and held off the Bulls' bids to tie the game in the late innings.

Connecticut took an early lead in the top of the first inning as a USF throwing error contributed to a run by leadoff man Billy Ferriter. Ferriter took third on the front end of a double steal and scored with the throw ended up in leftfield.

Connecticut made it 2-0 in the top of the third on Ryan Fuller's RBI single with two outs, but USF got a run back in the bottom of the third on Blake Sydeski's base hit, which scored James Ramsay from second, making it 2-1.

The Huskies added two more in the sixth inning on Alex DeBellis' double, which brought home Tom Verdi from first base, and Ferriter's two-out single that scored DeBellis and made it 4-1.

USF answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh as pinch hitter Todd Brazeal's base hit scored Luis Llerna. But Connecticut came back with three runs in the eighth as Ferriter laced an RBI double to score Pavone, Fuller brought Ferriter in on a single and Verdi was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 7-2.

The Bulls threatened in the eighth inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Connecticut turned to All-BIG EAST First Team reliever Scott Oberg, who struck out Llerna to get out the jam before working a scoreless ninth to register his eighth save of the year.

Ferriter and Fuller both finished with two RBIs for the Huskies, who made a winner of starting pitcher David Fischer (5-6). Fischer allowed eight hits and two runs in 6.2 innings.

USF, which had 10 hits of its own, was led by Ramsay, who was 3-for-5, but the Bulls left 14 men on base. Starting pitcher Andrew Barbosa allowed eight hits and four runs (three earned), falling to 7-6.


2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, May 23
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 1 - No. 3 Seton Hall 6, No. 6 Rutgers 1
Game 2 - No. 2 St. John's 12, No. 7 Notre Dame 2 (7 innings)
Game 3 - No. 1 Louisville 8, No. 8 Pittsburgh 4
Game 4 - No. 5 Connecticut 7, No. 4 USF 2

Thursday, May 24
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 5 - Notre Dame (29-26) vs. Rutgers (31-24), 10 a.m.
Game 6 - Seton Hall (34-22) vs. St. John's (34-21), 1 p.m.
Game 7 - USF (34-21) vs. Pittsburgh (28-27), 5 p.m.
Game 8 - Louisville (39-18) vs. Connecticut (30-25-1), 8 p.m.

Friday, May 25
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 9 - Loser of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 5, 4 p.m.
Game 10 - Loser of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 7, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 26
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 11 - Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12 - Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 10, 1 p.m.
Game 13 - Loser of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 11, 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 14 - Loser of Game 12 vs. Winner of Game 12, 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
(if necessary; game would be at 6:30 if Game 13 is not necessary, 8 p.m. otherwise)

Sunday, May 27 - Championship game
(live television on ESPNU)
Game 15 - Winner of Group 1 vs. Winner of Group 2, Noon

All times Eastern