Baseball: Huskies put up fight, drop 2 out of 3 in Cincinnati

A UConn pitcher delivers a pitch during the Huskies' 14-5 loss to Tulane at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn baseball team traveled to Ohio this weekend, where they faced a tough Cincinnati Bearcats team and ultimately lost the series, two games to one.

Despite losing the series, the Huskies put up quite the fight in both of their losses of the weekend. The two losing performances both ended with the score 3-2, including Game 1, which took 13 innings to decide the winner.

UConn (14-15, 2-3 the American) started with Anthony Kay on the mound for Game 1, and he put together a nice start for the team, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out six batters in six innings. Those six strikeouts put Kay into a tie for eighth on the program’s all-time strikeout list. Despite the good pitching, the Huskies entered into the top of the ninth with almost no offense to speak of, down 2-0.

UConn came back and scored two runs on two hits in the ninth on RBIs from seniors Bobby Melley and Joe DeRoche-Duffin. The latter came on a sacrifice fly to right field with one out. The extra innings were relatively quiet until Cincinnati (16-15, 4-1 American) loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 13th and finally plated the winning run on an error at home plate.

Game 2 saw freshman Tim Cate start on the mound for the Huskies. Just like Kay did before him, Cate gave the Huskies a quality start on the mound, allowing two runs (only one was earned) on one hit in 6.2 innings, while striking out five.

He even got some help from the offense, with two runs scored in the fourth from a DeRoche-Duffin sacrifice fly and RBI (his 23rd of the year), and an RBI from senior shortstop Bryan Daniello to make it 2-0. The Bearcats would chip away at the lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth and seventh innings, respectively, before scoring the game winner in the eighth inning. The Huskies couldn’t get their offense going for a comeback, despite out-hitting Cincy eight to two for the game.

Even though they went into Sunday winless from the weekend, UConn closed the series strong and avoided a sweep, beating Cincinnati 4-2. They came out of the gates quickly, with four runs in the first five innings. Coupled with another strong start from sophomore pitcher William Montgomerie, who allowed only one run on four hits in six innings, the Huskies never looked back.

Jack Sundberg led the attack with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored and freshman closer Randy Polonia came out of the bullpen to pitch 2.1 scoreless innings to earn his fourth save of the season.

The win on Sunday brings the all-time series between the teams to 18-11 in favor of UConn, although the two one-run losses are indicative of a theme for the Huskies this season. The team is now 3-8 in one-run games, which is something that definitely needs to be improved as the team heads towards the second half of the season, especially come conference tournament time.


Chris Hanna is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu.