PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Junior All-American Todd Frazier (Toms River, N.J.) hit his second grand slam in as many days and seniors Mike Bionde (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and Tim Querns (Cherry Hill, N.J.) drove in three runs apiece to power Rutgers to a 14-5 victory over Connecticut in BIG EAST baseball action Friday afternoon at Bainton Field.
The Scarlet Knights took the series from the Huskies with wins in the first two games of the three-game set. RU improved to 16-12 overall and 6-2 in the BIG EAST with the win, while UConn fell to 13-14 overall and 3-5 in the league.
Connecticut took an early lead on a solo home run by Matt Unteit in the first and strung together three hits to push across a run in the second for the 2-0 advantage.
Rutgers got those runs back and than some in the bottom of the second, however. With runners on first and second, Querns plated the Scarlet Knights' first run with an RBI single to left field. Later in the inning, RU loaded the bases with two outs and Frazier drilled a ball over the left-field fence for his second grand slam of the weekend to build a 5-1 lead.
Connecticut chipped away with two runs in the third to pull within a run at 5-4 but that was as close as they would come.
Following a scoreless fourth inning, the Scarlet Knights opened a two-run cushion with a score in the fifth. Frazier hit a sharp grounder back up the middle for a leadoff single and RU executed a perfect hit-and-run when Bionde laid down a well-placed bunt to move Frazier all the way over to third where he scored two plays later.
Meanwhile, Rutgers starter Steve Healing (Brick, N.J.) remained strong into the late innings, retiring the side in order in the fifth and sixth.
The Scarlet Knights then opened up a sizable lead off a pair of Huskie relievers with eight runs in the sixth to make it 14-4. With UConn starter Dusty Odenbach out, David Erickson started the frame on the mound for UConn. RU loaded the bases with no outs and Luis Feliz (New Brunswick, N.J.) singled to right field to bring the first run home. The Huskies relay throw got the second Scarlet Knight base runner out at the plate, however. With first base open, UConn intentionally-walked Frazier to re-load the bases. Bionde made the Huskies pay, belting a double down the left-field line to clear the bases for the second-straight day and bring home three runs. A pitching change did little to solve the Huskies' troubles as the Scarlet Knights added four more runs on an RBI single by Dave Williams (Franklin, N.J.), an RBI double by Tom Edwards (Caldwell, N.J.) and a two-run double by Querns.
UConn got a run in the seventh but would get no closer as Healing handed the ball off to Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) in the eighth and the freshman finished off the contest with two innings of one-hit, scoreless relief as Rutgers cruised to the lopsided victory.
Healing (4-3) got the win with six strikeouts and three earned runs (five total) on 11 hits over seven innings. Odenbach (1-2), his counterpart, took the loss with six runs on three hits and four walks in five innings of work.
Frazier's grand slam marked his 32nd career home run, tying him for second place with Pete Zoccolillo (1996-99) on the Rutgers all-time list. He is just two home runs shy of tying his brother Jeff (2002-04), who holds the school career home run record. The junior's 12th home run of the season also tied him with Zoccolillo's total in 1998 and 1999 and Angel Echevarria's total in 1991 for second on the Rutgers single-season list.
Querns finished the day a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with a walk to lead RU's 12-hit attack against UConn.
Rutgers and Connecticut will close out the series with a 1:00 p.m. game tomorrow at Bainton Field. Freshman righty Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.) will take the mound for the Scarlet Knights against freshman lefty Greg Nappo for the Huskies.