A way too early exit

CLEMSON - On Monday night, UConn handed Clemson a 14-1 beating in the final game of the Clemson Regional.

BOX SCORE: UConn 14 Clemson 1

About this time last year, Connecticut baseball coach Jim Penders tried to talk recent graduate Greg Nappo into leaving. The Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to draft the Huskies' left-hander.

"I said, ‘Go,'" Penders recalled. ‘"You might never have this chance again. You've done about everything you can do here.'"

Not quite, said Nappo, who had redshirted in 2008 and still had another year of eligibility. He hadn't won a championship at UConn. So he returned for another year.

Nappo got his second championship of the year Monday night as the Huskies rolled past Clemson 14-1 in the deciding game of the Clemson Regional. The Huskies (45-18-1), winners of the Big East Conference regular-season championship, will play at defending national champion South Carolina in the Super Regionals.

It was an especially big night for UConn, playing in only its second regional since 1994. Outfielder George Springer and pitcher Matt Barnes were taken in the first round of the Major League draft.

Nappo (10-2) allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings in his second start in three days.

"I was willing to do it as long as I had my arm attached," Nappo said.

Nappo's teammates floored the Tigers (43-20) with three runs in the first inning, five in the fifth and six more in the eighth. UConn's first three batters got hits and the host Tigers looked rattled on defense.

"We played loose, with absolutely no fear," Penders said. "There was no way we were going to lose tonight."

Clemson starter Kevin Pohle (5-2) recorded only one out before he was knocked out.

"It was one of those games where it started going in one direction and it's very hard to stop it," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said.

The victory was UConn's fourth straight since losing to Coastal Carolina in Friday's opening game.

Ryan Fuller had three hits, including a three-run homer, with five RBIs for the Huskies. Billy Ferriter had three hits, including two triples. Tim Martin had three hits and L.J. Mazzilli scored three runs.

Richie Shaffer's homer in the second produced Clemson's only run.

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