Connecticut Stifles Louisville, Advances to Semifinals with 4-1 Win

CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
HIGHLIGHTS
INTERVIEW WITH COACH JIM PENDERS
INTERVIEW WITH ANTHONY MARZI

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Starting pitcher Anthony Marzi allowed just four hits and one unearned run in a near-complete-game effort and second baseman LJ Mazzilli went 3-for-4 to send Connecticut into the semifinal round of the 2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship with a 4-1 win against Louisville Friday morning at Bright House Field.

The Huskies, who reached the semifinal round for the third consecutive season, will face either Louisville or USF Saturday at 1 p.m. The Cardinals will face the Bulls in an elimination game at 6 p.m. Friday, with the winner needing two wins against Connecticut Saturday to reach Sunday's final.

Marzi, a tough-luck starter who entered the game with a 2-8 record despite a 2.80 earned-run average, worked 8.2 innings, turned in five 1-2-3 innings and retired 13 men in a row between the fifth and ninth innings. He struck out five and walked two before yielding to closer Scott Oberg, who got the final out for his ninth save of the year.

The Huskies took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, registering four straight two-out hits off of Louisville starter Justin Amlung, the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year. Ryan Fuller and Tom Verdi both registered RBI singles to put Connecticut on the board.

Louisville answered in the top of the fifth inning when Adam Engel's grounder to short went through for an error, allowing Kyle Gibson to score from second base, making it 2-1.

Connecticut added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth after Mazzilli led off with a double and moved to third on a foul fly to rightfield. Verdi was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners and the Huskies executed a double-steal to make it 3-1. Eric Yavarone brought Verdi in with a base hit to left to give the Huskies a 4-1 lead.

The cushion proved to be plenty for Marzi, who retired the Cardinals in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and got the first two outs of the ninth before Louisville was able to get the tying run on deck. But Oberg got pinch hitter Jeff Gardner looking to end the game.

In addition to Mazzilli's three hits, Verdi and Yavarone both had two hits for the Huskies. The Cardinals had one player with multiple hits as first baseman Zac Wasserman finished 2-for-4.

Marzi improved to 3-8 with the win, while Amlung took the loss for the Cardinals, falling to 8-4.


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 9, Rutgers 0 (Rutgers eliminated)
Game 6 - St. John's 6, Seton Hall 3
Game 7 - USF 12, Pittsburgh 5 (Pittsburgh eliminated)

Friday, May 25
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 8 - Connecticut 4, Louisville 1
Game 9 - Seton Hall (34-23) vs. Notre Dame (30-26), 3 p.m.
Game 10 - Louisville (39-19) vs. USF (35-21), 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 26
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 11 - St. John's (35-21) vs. Winner of Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12 - Connecticut (31-25-1) 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