It may not have been the most appealing game of the young season, and freezing early spring temperatures certainly didn’t help, but just “good enough” was good enough for UConn baseball on Tuesday afternoon. , earning an 8-3 win over Hartford. in their first home game of the season.
The Huskies extended their winning streak to eight and moved to 9-1 last year after a game that was at times sloppy but ultimately ended in a win over UConn.
“Today was far from a Rembrandt,” said head coach Jim Penders. “We have to play a lot better than today, but we were lucky to get a win.”
UConn’s first two innings gave them some breathing room to work on that front. The Huskies scored three goals in the first inning against singles from David Smith, Zach Bushling, Ben Huber and TC Simmons, then three more in the second inning, tattooing Hartford’s second pitcher of the game. Smith started again with a single down the middle and sparked a two-run rally with an Erik Stock two-RBI single and Hawks infield errors, firing three more.
Stock extended his hitting streak to 21 games, dating back to 2021, and Smith was an effective first hitter, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“I was just trying to get down to basics honestly. I had one or two hits every game, but today I wanted to keep going and let the guys behind me score,” Smith said.
The Huskies featured a Rays-style first game and committee pitching staff, an occurrence that Penders said would be common for the Huskies this year in midweek games. Six different Huskies took the mound; some impressed, and some less so.
Redshirt rookie Hector Alejandro was the nominal starter and got the first two innings scoreless to start the contest strong. A pair of freshmen, Brady Afthim and Braden Quinn, put on perhaps the most impressive performances of the day. Afthim was able to close the gap in the eighth with Quinn in the ninth, who hit the side in the last frame to close it for the Huskies.
The Huskies struggled mid-innings with Sam Favieri on the mound, who gave up two runs in the sixth to close things up, but wasn’t helped by UConn’s defense in the inning. UConn scratched two more runs in the third and fifth innings, and that was enough for them to win quite comfortably.
UConn will now forgo the late-winter freeze in Connecticut for a sunny spring trip to California, taking on Pepperdine, UC San Diego, Long Beach State and USC in eight games over a 12-day span, their biggest ever. testing to date.