Baseball: UConn welcomes Houston for conference showdown

Centerfielder Jack Sundberg hits during UConn's loss to Tulane 14-5 loss to Tulane at J.O. Christian Field on April 2, 2016. Sudberg leads the team with a .316 batting average. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The UConn baseball team is set to take on the Houston Cougars in a three-game weekend series, the team’s last home series before the school year ends.

The weather forecast is looking to be sunny skies with temperature should reaching of 70 degrees, so there should be no

cancellations or postponements this weekend as there have been in weekends in the past.

Both the Huskies and the Cougars are on three-game win streaks, so each team will look to continue their momentum. Houston (20-12, 3-3 the American) is one of the better teams in a very competitive American Athletic Conference and will pose a difficult matchup for the Huskies.

Most recently, they won two out of three against UCF in a home series and they beat Texas 3-2 in a midweek game at a neutral site.

We’re playing in one of the best baseball conferences in the country.So we expect their [Houston’s] best punch and hopefully we can get out ahead like we did with Tulane, another really good team. And it’s going to be a tough row, that’s for sure, but I like our chances whenever Anthony Kay is on the mound. It all starts with the guy on the bump.
— Jim Penders

UConn (16-15, 2-3 the American) most recently took on Fairfield and Bryant in midweek matchups and won those games 2-1 and 6-3, respectively. Although the team has had some struggles offensively in recent weeks, the game against Bryant provided some hope for a spark to the Huskies’ bats in the days to come.

“We’ve been playing kind of flat the last couple days and our bats haven’t been working the last couple weeks,” senior Joe DeRoche-Duffin said. “The big mindset for us is to have no fear at the plate, and just go 100 percent on every play.”

While the team has struggled recently, one man has been the picture of consistency for the Huskies this season, as well as his whole career. His name is Bobby Melley.

Melley, a senior first baseman for the Huskies, is now tied for the active career hits mark in Division I baseball with 252 hits.

“I’m very lucky to have been healthy for four full years now,” Melley said. “I think health is the main reason and a lot of hard work has gotten me to this point. It’s been a great career so far and it’s not over yet.”

Coach Penders hinted that his pitching rotation will include the usual suspects starting for the coming weekend, with junior Anthony Kay opening the series on Friday, freshman Tim Cate on Saturday and sophomore William Montgomerie on Sunday.

“We’re playing in one of the best baseball conferences in the country,” Penders said. “So we expect their [Houston’s] best punch and hopefully we can get out ahead like we did with Tulane, another really good team. And it’s going to be a tough row, that’s for sure, but I like our chances whenever Anthony Kay is on the mound. It all starts with the guy on the bump.”


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