Hot Huskies on tap for Hall this weekend
The last time the baseball team faced Connecticut it was to advance to the Big East Championship game. This time around it will be both teams’ second conference series of the year when the Pirates take on the Huskies in Storrs, Conn.
“I think for us, we’re prepared and I’m sure that they have a sour taste in our mouth,” head coach Rob Sheppard. “We have to, regardless of who it is in the conference, we got to play at a high level and we’re ready for it. We just got to keep playing good baseball.”
Starting conference play the Pirates dropped two of three games at home to Rutgers while Connecticut swept their opening series against West Virginia. Entering this weekend the Hall holds a 12-12 record with the Huskies at 12-11.
The two teams did not face each other in the regular season last year but met in the second round of the Big East Championships. In the first matchup the fifth seeded Pirates defeated top seed Connecticut in 12 innings, 4-3, and two days later the Pirates won again this time in eight innings, 12-2.
Currently Connecticut is on a six game winning streak with a victory against Central Connecticut, Wednesday. Over that stretch the Huskies have averaged 9.8 runs a game while only allowing 3.7 runs a game including outscoring West Virginia 33-12.
All season it has been the offense that has led the Huskies. In their wins the team is scoring 8.2 runs a game with junior LJ Mazzilli leading the way. Mazzilli has a team high .363 batting average along with team highs of 23 runs, six home runs, 21 RBI’s and a .703 slugging percentage. Also helping the Huskies offense is senior Ryan Fuller who is hitting .329 and leads the team with a .466 on base percentage.
This weekend the Huskies potent offense will have to matchup against the Pirates pitching staff which ranks third in the Big East. Led by junior Jon Prosinski, the Hall’s team ERA this season is 3.71 and opposing batters are hitting .265.
Prosinski, who will get the start on Friday has a 2.90 ERA in 40.1 innings pitched with opposing batters only hitting .268 against him. Junior Ryan Harvey and sophomore Brian Gilbert will also get the starts this weekend but Sheppard has not decided what days they will start.
Out of the bullpen senior Benny Mejia has been a consistent force for the team. In 11 appearances, Mejia has struck out 15 batter and has held opponents to a .183 average against.
“Benny’s been great out of the bullpen,” Sheppard said. “It’s good to see him starting sure up a little role as we get more into our conference, but Benny’s been tremendous as well.”
First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday with both weekend game scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at Stephen.email@example.com