Conference Championship Central


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Sophomore LHP Anthony Marzi tossed 8.2 innings and allowed just one unearned run to lead Connecticut to a 4-1 win against No. 23 Louisville in the second round of the Big East tournament. The No. 5-seed Huskies advance to play the winner of Louisville and South Florida Saturday.

For Marzi (3-8), it was his first win since beating Seton Hall on April 1. He surrendered four hits, walked two and struck out five. Junior RHP and Big East Pitcher of the Year Justin Amlung went seven innings for the Cardinals, giving up all four runs on 10 hits. He also walked a pair and struck out six.

Redshirt junior RHP Scott Oberg came on for the final out of the game and recorded a strikeout to earn his ninth save of the season.

UConn's offense went to work with two outs in the bottom of the third. Senior first baseman Tim Martin had the first hit of the game, followed by a base hit to left by junior second baseman L.J. Mazzilli. Senior third baseman Ryan Fuller drove in Martin from second with a base hit to left and sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi plated Mazzilli to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

The two runs in the second ended a streak of 25 innings for Connecticut with Marzi on the mound.

Freshman third baseman Zach Lucas led off the top of the fifth for Louisville with a triple off the wall in left field. He was erased in a rundown on a comebacker to Marzi for the first out. The batter, sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson, advanced to second on the fielder's choice. Gibson scored on error by Verdi and sophomore center fielder Adam Engel walked. Engel stole second and third, but was out at home on a grounder to Fuller to hold the Cardinals to just one run.

In the bottom half of the inning, Mazzilli led off with a double down the left field line, the 200th hit of his career. Mazzilli moved to third on a fly ball out to right and Verdi was intentionally walked.  With freshman DH Alex DeBellis at the plate, Verdi stole second and Mazzilli went home on the throw. Freshman leftfielder then delivered Verdi to the plate with a base hit to left, extending the lead to 4-1.

Mazzilli went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the Huskies outhit the Cardinals 10-4. Wasserman had the only two-hit game for Louisville, going 2-for-4.

The win was the first for Connecticut against Louisville in the Big East Championship. UConn had fallen to the Cardinals in both 2006 and 2009. Since the tournament expanded to eight teams in 2006, nine of 12 teams to start 2-0 have made the final, while five of six champions started 2-0.