Three pitchers combined for a five-hit shutout as No. 14 Connecticut knocked off the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team 7-0 on Sunday in the finale of the Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field. Trey Hernandez had two hits, including his third double of the tournament, in a losing effort.
Justin Meza collected the loss for the Islanders despite a strong performance on the mound. The freshman went five innings, allowing five hits and two walks with eight punchouts. Two of the three runs he surrendered were earned. He was outdueled by Connecticut's Greg Nappo, who scattered three hits and two walks to go with seven punchouts in six innings.
George Springer hit a three-run homer and drove in four in the contest, while Mike Friel and Nick Ahmed each added two hits for the Huskies. The Islanders got solo base knocks from Drew Vest, Matt Holland and Santiago Ruiz. Ian Campbell pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings out of the pen, while Adam Hoelscher allowed just one unearned run in two innings.
Early on, both teams put zeroes on the board, with Meza and Nappo each posting impressive performances out of the gate. The Huskies cracked the scoreboard first, scraping across a run in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and two down, Springer drew a walk to force in the opening tally of the game to make it 1-0.
Then in the fourth, UConn pushed another two across. The leadoff man drew a walk and stole second, and after two Meza punchouts, John Andreoli rapped a single to center to make it 2-0. Friel then struck out, but reached on a passed ball, and Ahmed singled home Andreoli for a 3-0 Husky lead.
Then Springer delivered the biggest blow of the game against reliever Roy Ferdin. With two on and one-out, the preseason All-American ripped a pitch just over the wall in left center to make it 6-0 in favor of the visitors.
Meanwhile, Nappo continued to cruise, retiring 10 straight batters at one point. In both the fifth and sixth, the Islanders got a pair of base runners aboard with two down, but in both cases, the Husky hurler was able to dance his way out of danger after well hit balls found their way into the gloves of opposing fielders. UConn tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth to make it 7-0.
The Islanders placed two players on the All-Tournament Team, as Sean Washington (outfield) and Holland (DH) were both honored by members of the media. Oregon State's Parker Berberet was named the Tournament MVP.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi returns to action on Tuesday, with a doubleheader at Houston Baptist. First pitch of the double dip is scheduled for noon.
KLEBERG BANK COLLEGE CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
C - Andrew Susac, Oregon State
1B - Parker Berberet, Oregon State
2B - Micah Johnson, Indiana
3B - Dustin Demuth, Indiana
SS - Michael Basil, Indiana
OF - Justin Cureton, Indiana
OF - Alex Dickerson, Indiana
OF - Sean Washington, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
DH - Matt Holland, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi
P - Sam Gaviglio, Oregon State
P - Greg Nappo, Connecticut
P - Matt Barnes, Connecticut
Tournament MVP - Parker Berberet, Oregon State