For the first time in program history, the Connecticut Huskies will play in the NCAA Baseball Super Regional. The Huskies defeated Clemson 14-1 to win the Clemson Regional on Monday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Connecticut will travel to Columbia, S.C., to take on reigning national champion South Carolina June 10-13. The Gamecocks are the No. 4 seed nationally.
The Huskies are the third BIG EAST team to qualify for the Super Regional round, joining Louisville (2009 and 2007) and Notre Dame (2002). Both Louisville in 2007 and Notre Dame in 2002 moved on to the College World Series.
After losing their regional opener to Coastal Carolina, the Huskies won four-straight games, including beating No. 1 seed Clemson on back-to-back nights, to win the Clemson Regional. The BIG EAST regular-season champions used three big innings to score double-digit runs for the 13th time this season, scoring three times in the first, five in the fifth and six in the eighth. Ryan Fuller provided much of the offense, going 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. Tim Martin and Billy Ferriter also had three hits apiece, while John Andreoli and Nick Ahmed each drove in a pair of runs.
Connecticut did not waste any time in jumping on the Tigers, scoring three times in the top of the first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. George Springer drove in the first run of the inning on a single to center that brought in LJ Mazzilli. Fuller, the hero on Sunday night with a walk-off RBI single, added an RBI single in the frame while Nick Ahmed also drove in a run.
Husky starter Greg Nappo turned in a solid outing, picking up the win while allowing just one run on five hits in 5.2 innings. Clemson's lone run came on a solo home run by Richie Shaffer in the bottom of the second. Dan Feehan pitched a near perfect final 3.1 innings for the Huskies, allowing just one hit and walking one while picking up the save in relief.
The Huskies broke the game wide open with a five-run fifth to take an 8-1 lead. Fuller added his second RBI of the game in the frame while Mike Nemeth and Mazzilli also added RBI singles.
The squad added more insurance in the eighth, scoring six times to push the advantage to 14-1. John Andreoli had a bases-loaded single that drove in two, while Fuller highlighted the inning with a three-run home run to left.
Connecticut begins its series with South Carolina on June 11th at 6 p.m. ET. All of the games in the series will be available nationally on ESPN2.
2011 Clemson Regional All-Tournament Team
C - Derick Horn, Sacred Heart
1B - Mike Nemeth, Connecticut
2B - Tommy La Stella, Coastal Carolina
SS - Nick Ahmed *, Connecticut
3B - John Hinson, Clemson
OF - Hayes Orton*, Coastal Carolina
OF - Will Lamb*, Clemson
OF - John Andreoli, Connecticut
DH - Phil Pohl, Clemson
P - Greg Nappo *, Connecticut
P - Anthony Meo, Coastal Carolina
MVP - Greg Nappo, Connecticut