Baseball: Huskies head to Memphis for weekend series

UConn baseball infielder Joe DeRoche-Duffin takes a swing during the Huskies' game against the University of Houston at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Connecticut on Friday, April 15, 2016. (Allen Lang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn baseball team will look to bounce back from a tough pair of losses to East Carolina last weekend when they resume conference play in Memphis this weekend. The Huskies will take on the Tigers in a three-game series to conclude a stretch of ten consecutive road games.

The Huskies picked up their 22nd win of the season Wednesday with a 5-1 win over local rival Holy Cross in Worcester, Masachusetts. UConn senior Joe DeRoche-Duffin smashed a pair of home runs in the win, becoming the first Husky to hit multiple home runs in a game since Ryan Fuller in 2012. DeRoche-Duffin is tied for first in the American Athletic Conference with ten home runs this season.

Jack Riley started for UConn in the win over Holy Cross and pitched into the fifth inning, allowing one run on five hits. The bullpen carried the Huskies to the finish line, as reliever Joe Rivera picked up his second career win.

The Huskies are currently 22-18 and sit at fourth in The American with a 6-5 conference record. They are only a game and a half behind leader Cincinnati, with series remaining against East Carolina, UCF and USF beyond this weekend.

Their opponent this weekend, Memphis, sits seventh in The American with a 5-7 conference record and a 14-28 overall record. The Tigers have lost 10 of their last 12 games, including a pair of losses to Belmont in a home-and-home series this past week.

Memphis’ offense hits .249 at the plate, with Jake Little the only hitter above .300 with a .333 average. Little is one of five Tigers with at least 20 runs batted in, and Brandon Grudzielanek and Chris Carrier tied for the team lead with 27 each. Carrier leads the team with three home runs.

The Tigers’ weekend starters are Colton Hathcock, Connor Alexander and Matt Ferguson. Hathcock leads the team with a 3.39 earned run average, while Alexander and Ferguson sit at 5.13 and 3.90, respectively. Memphis’ pitching staff has a team ERA of 5.44 and allows opposing hitters to bat .275 at the plate.

UConn will likely go with its usual weekend trio of Anthony Kay, Tim Cate and William Montgomerie on the mound. Kay has been stellar in his last two starts, allowing one earned run over 8.1 innings against Houston and one earned run over eight innings against East Carolina. Cate is also riding a hot streak of his own.

Willy Yahn leads the Huskies with a .316 batting average, including 12 doubles. Bobby Melley is first on the team with 37 RBIs, while DeRoche-Duffin is right behind with 36. UConn hits .267 as a team at the plate.

First pitch between the Huskies and the Tigers on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee. The two teams will continue the series with a 3p.m. start on Saturday and conclude with a 2p.m. start on Sunday.


Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at tyler.keating@uconn.edu.