JIM PENDERS INTERVIEW LJ MAZZILLI INTERVIEW BILLY FERRITER INTERVIEW ANTHONY MARZI INTERVIEW
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Lefthanded pitcher Anthony Marzi scattered four hits and allowed just one run in a complete-game effort to lead eighth-seeded Connecticut to its first Big East title since 1994 with an 8-1 win against seventh-seeded Notre Dame Sunday at Bright House Field.
The win caps an incredible run in the tournament for the Huskies, who went 4-0 as the lowest seed, winning three one-run games in the early rounds before cruising to a win in the final. Connecticut was a combined 1-11 in the regular season against the four teams it defeated in the Big East Championship.
Connecticut becomes the first No. 8 seed to win the Big East title after joining the 2007 Huskies as the only No. 8 seeds to even reach the championship game. It is the third Big East crown for the Huskies, as head coach Jim Penders becomes the first man to win the title as a player (in 1994) and a coach.
UConn (34-26) earned the Big East's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and will learn its destination Monday at noon.
Marzi, who lasted just 3.1 innings in a start against USF earlier in the tournament, asked for the ball for the final and rewarded Penders' confidence in him by going the distance against a potent Irish lineup. Marzi allowed four hits and struck out six with two walks to improve to 5-6 on the season. He threw 116 pitches, retired the Irish in order four times in nine innings and didn't face more than five batters in any inning.
UConn second baseman L.J. Mazzilli gave the Huskies all the runs they would need with a two-run home run to left in the bottom of the first. UConn added a run on a Notre Dame throwing error in the bottom of the second and built a 6-0 lead after three on an RBI single by Jon Testani and a two-run triple to the rightfield corner by Tom Verdi.
The Irish got on the board in the top of the seventh when first baseman Trey Mancini led off with a home run. But Marzi retired the next three batters in order, and the Huskies reclaimed the six-run lead when Stanley Paul doubled home Max McDowell to make it 7-1. Vinny Siena's RBI single in the bottom of eighth gave the Huskies an 8-1 lead.
Centerfielder Billy Ferriter earned the Jack Kaiser Award as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after he hit .500 during the tournament, including a 2-for-5 showing in the final. Ferriter joined Verdi, Marzi and pitcher David Mahoney on as UConn's representatives on the all-tournament team.
Notre Dame (34-24) was led by Mancini, who finished 2-for-4 Sunday. Starting pitcher Adam Norton, who dealt a complete-game shutout against Seton Hall in Notre Dame's tournament opener, lasted just 2.1 innings Sunday, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts. The Irish placed Jagielo and second baseman Frank DeSico on the all-tournament team.
2013 Big East Championship All-Tournament Team
David Mahoney, P, Connecticut
Anthony Marzi, P, Connecticut
Elvin Soto, C, Pittsburgh
Charlie Law, IF, Rutgers
Frank DeSico, IF, Notre Dame
Eric Jagielo, IF, Notre Dame
Tom Verdi, IF, Connecticut
Billy Ferriter, OF, Connecticut
Steven Vranka, OF, Pittsburgh
Brian O'Grady, OF, Rutgers
Ryan Sullivan, DH, Seton Hall
Jack Kaiser Award (Most Outstanding Player)
Billy Ferriter, OF, Connecticut`