MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team was swept by Connecticut in the opening series of BIG EAST play, as the Huskies won 8-1 on Sunday afternoon at Hawley Field.
“This was our first conference weekend and we had a lot of guys get exposed,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “Connecticut did a great job. They came in here and pitched well, swung the bats, played good defense and ran the bases hard. They just outplayed us in every area and it was a real eye-opener for a new guys and veterans.”
Connecticut (10-11, 3-0 BIG EAST) outhit WVU (11-15, 03) 11-7 in the final game of the series, while the Mountaineers committed the game’s lone error.
Right-hander Dan Dierdorff
(3-2) took the loss in his first weekend start, allowing eight runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings pitched. Dierdorff struck out three and walked two. Zach Bargeron
, Austin Pressly
and Eric Hinkle
combined to pitch the final 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and walking two.
Connecticut starter Jordan Tabakman (2-0) was very effective in earning the win. Tabakman allowed one run on five hits in six innings pitched with two strikeouts and two walks. Carson Cross, Dan Feehan and Scott Oberg each pitched one inning, striking out a total of five WVU batters.
The Huskies took the 1-0 lead in its first time at the plate, scoring one run without recording a hit. Leadoff hitter Billy Ferriter was hit by a pitch to start the game, stole second and third base, and then scored on a wild pitch.
A team-leading 13th double of the season by left fielder Matt Frazer
to right center field drove in second baseman Brady Wilson
to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning. Wilson reached on a single to right center for WVU.
Dierdorff got into a no-out bases loaded jam in the fourth inning, but was able to minimize the damage as he forced Eric Yavarone to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Ryan Fuller from third for the only run, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
Dierdorff got in bases loaded jams again in the fifth and sixth innings, but was not as lucky as UConn capitalized with three runs in each inning. In the fifth, L.J. Mazzilli and Tom Verdi each scored on a fielder’s choice by Joe Pavone to third base, where Wilson made a throwing error looking to complete a double play. A double by Ryan Fuller to left field scored Verdi and Ferriter in the sixth inning to increase the lead to 8-1.
First baseman Ryan McBroom
had two hits for WVU, including a double, while Connecticut was led by Ferriter, Mazzilli, Fuller and Jon Testani, who all had two hits apiece. Ferriter scored a game-high three runs with two stolen bases, one RBI, one walk and was hit by a pitch.
The Mountaineers move on to play Morehead State in the annual Mountaineer Diamond Classic on Tuesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va. Tickets can be ordered at WVPower.com or call the West Virginia Power Box Office at (304) 344-BATS.