By: Nikki Steele
CLEMSON- The University of Connecticut won its second straight elimination game in the Clemson Regional of the NCAA Baseball Championship, knocking off the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 12-6 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies jumped out to a 4-3 lead after three innings, and took complete control scoring eight runs in the final four innings.
The Huskies used three-hit days by second baseman L.J. Mazzili and first baseman Mike Nemeth, helping an offense that struggled throughout the Big East Tournament and into Friday’s game. But the Huskies have now scored 23 runs in their last two games.
The 10 runs were more than enough for Husky starter Brian Ward, who saved the UConn bullpen by going eight innings. He gave up three runs on just six hits.
UConn jumped out to a 4-0 lead, though Ward almost gave it all back in the third. But after Coastal pulled within 4-3, Ward settled down and the offense blew it open, scoring three runs each in the sixth and seventh innings.
It’s the first time UConn has won multiple games in the NCAA baseball tournament since 1979, when they last advanced to the College World Series.
Catcher Tucker Frawley was 2-for-3 for Coastal, which finishes the year at 42-20. Scott Woodward, Rich Witten, Tommy La Stella and and Daniel Bowman each drove in a run for the Chants.
Starter Jos Conway (6-2) took the loss for Coastal, giving up three earned runs in 4.2 innings.
Coastal head coach Gary Gilmore said the final two games of the regional were a microcosm of the Chanticleers’ season.
“Today is the way we played all year,” Gilmore said. “We were as good as would be and as bad as we could be. It’s frustrating. Both games – last night and today – we lost because of our inability to get anything done on the pitcher’s mound early in the game. Emotionally we were not where we were on Friday. We needed a huge performance pitching-wise to give us a chance to keep the game close and we didn’t get that.”
(Gary Gilmore, Tommy La Stella, Hayes Orton)
UConn will face the Clemson Tigers at 7 p.m. to try and force a game seven against the Tigers. Clemson will start right-handed Justin Sarratt. Elliott Glenn will be on the mound for the Huskies.