Rutgers eliminates UCONN in BET

The Scarlet Knights (29-27-1) upset second-seeded Connecticut (39-18-1) 9-5 and eliminated the Huskies from the Big East Tournament. Rutgers will be back in action against third-seeded Louisville on Friday at 10:00 a.m. in a tournament rematch.

A solid outing from freshman pitcher Matt Giannini and a 4-for-4 performance by second baseman Mike Bionde led Rutgers to a 9-5 victory over Connecticut in the first of two elimination round games of the 2006 BIG EAST Baseball Championship on Thursday at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla.

The sixth-seeded Scarlet Knights (29-27-1) advance to take on No. 3 Louisville on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Second-seeded Connecticut (39-18-1) was eliminated with the loss. The Huskies will anxiously await the NCAA Baseball Championship selection show at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 29 to see if they earned an at-large bid to the national tournament.

Giannini (6-5) allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits and four walks while striking out six in the victory. He held a UConn team that was hitting .314 heading into the contest to two runs in his first seven innings.

Each of Bionde's four hits were singles and three of them came in a run scoring inning for the Scarlet Knights.

Connecticut's Nick Tucci (9-2) took the loss after allowing nine runs, eight earned, on 10 hits and two walks while striking out five in 4.2 innings.

Dale Brannon had the only Connecticut multi-hit performance with two and notched an RBI and a run scored. Matt Karl also had a single and two RBI.

A throwing error in the bottom of the third by Connecticut third baseman Pat Mahoney on Jeff Grose's slow roller allowed Bionde to score from first base to give Rutgers a 1-0 lead.

Two hit batsmen, Steve Hook and Frank Meade, in the bottom of the fourth was the catalyst for the pivotal seven-run inning for Rutgers. RBI singles by Tim Querns and Bionde and an RBI fielder's choice by Luis Feliz gave RU a 4-0 lead. After a Jeff Grose walk, Todd Frazier notched a run scoring single. Ryan Hill's two-run double made the score 7-0 before David Williams accounted for the final run of the inning (8-0) with an RBI double.

The Huskies immediately chipped away at the deficit in the top of the fifth. Karl walked with one out in the fifth, advanced to third on Dale Brannon's single and scored on a wild pitch. Brannon scored on a double two batters later by Matt Untiet.

Bionde's single on a hit-and-run advanced Meade (single) from first to third before Feliz's sac fly improved the Scarlet Knights' lead to 9-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

UConn loaded the bases without any outs in the bottom of the ninth on a walk by Dennis Donovan, and consecutive singles by Josh Farkes and Matt Karl. An RBI ground out to second by Brannon scored Donovan, and two more runs scored on a throwing error by Bionde to make the score, 9-5.

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