A strong starting performance from University of Connecticut right-hander Pat Butler was too much for the baseball team to overcome as Yale lost to the Huskies 8-0 Wednesday in Storrs, Conn.
Butler recorded six strikeouts as he tossed seven shutout innings to notch his first win of the season for the Huskies (7-11, 0-0 Big East). He recorded the same number of strikeouts across 27 innings of work in 2011.
“[Butler] did a good job of keeping the ball low in the zone,” outfielder Charlie Neil ’12 said. “He kept us off-balance.”
UConn started the scoring early in its 2012 home opener when second baseman LJ Mazzilli sent pitcher Chris O’Hare’s ’13 offering over the fence for 2-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the first. Mazzilli leads the Huskies with six home runs.
The Huskies struck again in the bottom of the fifth against lefty Eric Hsieh ’15. After a scoreless first inning of work, Hsieh gave up an earned run on a walk to centerfielder Billy Ferriter sandwiched between two singles from right fielder Ryan Moore and shortstop Ryan Verdi. Another run crossed the plate on an error by Eli backstop Robert Baldwin ’15 as he attempted to catch Verdi stealing second. Hsieh escaped further damage by getting first baseman Ryan Fuller to line into an unassisted double play by shortstop Cale Hanson ’14.
The Huskies would tack on insurance by scoring twice in both the sixth and eighth innings.
“They were decent offensively,” designated hitter Josh Scharff ’13 said in a message to the News. “We just gave them too many free bases.”
Ultimately that was all the run support Butler needed. He did not allow a hit until second baseman Chris Piwinski ’13 led off the top of the sixth with a single. Yale (4-11-1, 0-0 Ivy) would get the leadoff man on again in the seventh on a single by Hanson, but after a single by Scharff, Butler was able to escape the two-on, nobody-out jam without surrendering a run.
Relievers Dan Feehan and Scott Oberg pitched the final two frames to complete the shutout for Connecticut.
Despite the disappointing box score, several Bulldogs saw positive signs in the loss.
“This pitching staff, despite the slump we’ve been going through, has been pitching great,” first baseman Kevin Fortunato ’14 said.
Righty Michael Coleman ’14 pitched two shutout innings in relief of O’Hare. He faced only one batter over the minimum.
The Elis host a double header with the University of Hartford (2-14) on Friday, March 23 before facing the Hawks in Hartford on Saturday.