PLYMOUTH MEETING, April 17, 2011 – The University of Connecticut Huskies Baseball team is in first place in the Big East and showed why. Using a combination of speed, power, and pitching Connecticut capped off a sweep of the host Villanova Wildcats winning the series finale 10 – 2 at the Villanova ballpark at Plymouth. The Huskies had more talent than the Wildcats which explains the sweep.
“I think they are the best team in the league,” Villanova Coach Joe Godri said. “They have five pro players in the lineup and have good pitching. They came in and we had no answers for them.”
Connecticut had three multiple run innings. The four run fourth broke the game open as the Huskies took a commanding 7 – 1 lead. The at bat showcased the Huskies ability to play small ball, hit with power, and how Villanova mistakes compounded their problem. In the inning Connecticut got started by Right Fielder John Andreoli getting on via a bunt single. He scored on a double to right by Catcher Doug Elliot. An error by Villanova Senior Second Baseman Dain Hall put runners on second and third with none out. Left Fielder Billy Ferriter used a squeeze bunt to score Elliot. Shortstop Nick Ahmed came to the plate. DH Tim Martin and Elliot moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. Martin scored on a sacrifice fly by Ahmed, then Center Fielder doubled to left scoring Ferriter giving Connecticut a 7 – 1 lead.
“”You can’t give teams like Connecticut 4 or 5 outs in an inning,” said Godri. They got us on the run a little bit, and we couldn’t find a way to settle it down.”
The double by Springer would end the day for Villanova starting pitcher Stephen Ostapeck. The Sophomore right-hander pitched three and two-thirds of an inning allowing 7 runs on 9 hits, however only 2 runs were earned. Ostapeck did not strike out or walk a batter.
“There wasn’t much working,” Godri said about what went wrong for Ostapeck.
He also did not get run support. Villanova got a run in the first inning as Junior Shortstop Marlon Calbi scored on a wild pitch. The Wildcats tacked on another run in the sixth when Junior First Baseman Kevin Wager singled to right with the bases loaded to score Calbi.
“They did a great job commanding the strike zone,” Godri said about the Connecticut pitchers. “They moved the ball around, and that kind of grounded us. When you throw strikes you’ll get people out in college baseball.”
Villanova committed 4 errors in the game, and threw 4 wild pitches. Connecticut had six extra base hits. Calbi was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored. He had one of two Villanova extra base hits with a double. Calbi extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, and has not been struck out in his last 43 plate appearances. Freshman Infielder Michael Erb went 2 – 4. Designated Hitter Andrew Geenen was 1 – 2 getting a double.
Brian Ward picked up the win, and Ostapek took the loss to drop to 2 – 1 this season.
Villanova is 13 – 21 on the season with a 2 – 10 Big East record. Connecticut improves to 21 – 12 -1, and is 10 – 2 in conference. The Wildcats meet city rival Saint Joseph’s on April 19, and then hit the road for a weekend series at Cincinnati.
“UConn is a better baseball team, and went out and proved it this weekend,” said Godri.
Written By: Glenn Papazian