Mazzilli Comes Through Again

NORWICH, Conn. – LJ Mazzilli has been Connecticut's most productive clutch hitter from the first game of this season. Saturday at Dodd Stadium, the home crowd got a chance to see Mazzilli at his best.

UConn took the opening game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Bearcats in dramatic fashion as Mazzilli hit a walk-off, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory.

"LJ did a great job of staying in the middle of the field," UConn coach Jim Penders said. "When he uses the whole field he is as dangerous a hitter as there is in college baseball."

In a game that saw Connecticut gather 10 hits to just three by Cincinnati, the Huskies still found themselves trailing 3-2 in the ninth.

Freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone started the rally when he was hit by a pitch. Billy Ferriter followed with a walk. With runners on first and second and one out, Mazzilli stepped to the plate looking for his third hit of the game.

Mazzilli swung at a slider and drove it to dead center. Cincinnati center fielder Matt Williams broke in on the ball but then retreated as the ball went over his head to the warning track. Yavarone crossed home with Ferriter on his heels. Both beat the throw home, capping off one of the teams more dramatic victories of the year.

"I just told myself to see it," Mazzilli said. "I was trying to do too much up there. You've got to take what the pitcher gives you. Pitchers are going to make mistakes and leave balls up there for the hitters to take advantage of and I just told myself to wait back and stop jumping at the pitches."

Mazzilli finished the game 3-for-5 and made several nice plays defensively as well. Mazzilli was 1-for-4 in UConn's 1-0 loss in the nightcap and takes a .337 average into the Sunday finale of the three game series. He leads the Huskies with nine home runs and 35 runs batted in.

"I very rarely see the other pitcher get him out," Penders said of Mazzilli. "If he makes an out it is because he came out of a good approach.

"He stayed within and stayed in the moment and didn't try to do too much with it. He just put a good swing on the baseball."

Designated hitter Jon Testani chipped in with two hits and the Huskies received a solid relief outing from Carson Cross who picked up the win by throwing 3.1 innings of one-hit baseball, including four strikeouts.

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