CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ About this time last year, Connecticut
baseball coach Jim Penders tried to talk recent graduate Greg Nappo
into leaving. The Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to draft the Huskies’
“I said, ‘Go,”’ Penders recalled. ‘“You might never have this
chance again. You’ve done about everything you can do here.”’
Not quite, said Nappo, who had redshirted in 2008 and still had
another year of eligibility. He hadn’t won a championship at UConn.
So he returned for another year.
Nappo got his second championship of the year Monday night as
the Huskies rolled past Clemson 14-1 in the deciding game of the
Clemson Regional. The Huskies (45-18-1), winners of the Big East
Conference regular-season championship, will play at defending
national champion South Carolina in the super regionals.
It was an especially big night for UConn, playing in only its
second regional since 1994. Outfielder George Springer and pitcher
Matt Barnes were taken in the first round of the Major League
Nappo (10-2) allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings in his second
start in three days.
“I was willing to do it as long as I had my arm attached,”
Nappo’s teammates floored the Tigers (43-20) with three runs in
the first inning, five in the fifth and six more in the eighth.
UConn’s first three batters got hits and the host Tigers looked
rattled on defense.
“We played loose, with absolutely no fear,” Penders said.
“There was no way we were going to lose tonight.”
Clemson starter Kevin Pohle (5-2) recorded only one out before
he was knocked out.
“It was one of those games where it started going in one
direction and it’s very hard to stop it,” Clemson coach Jack
The victory was UConn’s fourth straight since losing to Coastal
Carolina in Friday’s opening game.
Ryan Fuller had three hits, including a three-run homer, with
five RBIs for the Huskies. Billy Ferriter had three hits, including
two triples. Tim Martin had three hits and LJ Mazzilli scored three
Richie Shaffer’s homer in the second produced Clemson’s only
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)