Monday, March 16, 2009

A beautiful day for baseball?

It might not have been the best day for baseball, with mid-40s temperatures and a brisk wind blowing on Alumni Diamond, but nonetheless the Stags played their home opener against in-state rival UConn, losing a hard fought 5-4 game.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a ground out off of Fairfield starting pitcher Sam Robertson, a freshman from nearby Ridgefield, Conn. But in the bottom half of the inning the Stags jumped out to a 2-1 lead on singles by freshman Ryan Furbeck and Tyler Wosleger.

In the fifth inning UConn retook the lead when Pete Fatse hit a home run to right field, scoring three runs and giving the Huskies a 4-2 advantage. In the sixth inning the Huskies were threatening again, with runners on first and second with no outs. But shortstop Mike Olt lined into a triple play, hitting the ball to second baseman Tucker Nathans, who caught the line drive, threw to second base for a second out and then Furbeck threw on to first base for the final out.

The triple play, one of the more rare plays in sports, was the first since 1988 for the Stags. There was also a triple play turned in 2004.

UConn added a fifth run in the top of the seventh on a botched suicide squeeze attempt, when the batter missed the sign, but catcher Chris Horning dropped the pitch and the runner scored anyway. In the bottom half of the inning the Stags rallied again, with Furbeck and fellow freshman Mark Skrapits leading the way, each hitting RBI singles to pull the Stags within one run.

But that was as close as Fairfield would get.

The loss dropped the Stags to 3-8 on the year. After a rough start in Florida, the Stags have been playing better, defeating New York Tech in 10 innings on Sunday, following a 5-4 loss at St. John's the day before, when junior Bill Rafferty was thrown out at home plate in the ninth inning to end the game.

The Stags return to action tomorrow with a second away game at St. John's. After another in-state matchup with Quinnpiac at home on Thursday, the Stags start the MAAC season with three games at home against Siena this weekend.

-Tom Cleary

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