Baseball: Huskies handed disappointing setback by in-state rival Hartford

Bobby Melley takes a swing during UConn's 14-5 loss to Tulane at J.O. Christian Field on April 2, 2016. The senior first basemen is hitting .273 with 4 home runs on the year. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The UConn baseball team suffered another disappointing midweek defeat on Wednesday afternoon as they fell 4-3 to in-state rival Hartford at Fiondella Field.

The Hawks (19-6) scored twice late in the game to help overcome home runs from the Huskies’ Joe DeRoche-Duffin and Bryan Daniello.

UConn (13-13)  leapt out to an early lead in the first inning against Hartford starting pitcher Justin Cashman. After Bobby Melley drew a two-out walk, DeRoche-Duffin launched a home run to left-center field to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. The shot was DeRoche-Duffin’s team-leading fifth home run of the 2016 season.

The Huskies’ starting pitcher, sophomore William Montgomerie, struck out two batters in a clean first inning before running into trouble in the second. The Hawks used savvy baserunning to put runners on second and third base with two outs, but Montgomerie was able to strike out Dalton Ruch to end the inning.

Montgomerie did not go much farther than that, as the Huskies went to the bullpen after he picked up his fifth strikeout to open the third inning. Reliever Sam Nepiarsky closed the third, but gave up an unearned run in the fourth as shortstop Bryan Daniello made a throwing error with two outs and two runners on base.

Ronnie Rossomando replaced Nepiarsky, and was tagged for a run in the fifth inning as Hartford tied the game at two apiece. Chris DelDebbio brought home the run for the Hawks with an RBI sacrifice fly.

The Huskies could not muster any offense during the middle innings, as they were kept in check by Hartford relievers Sam McKay and Billy DeVito.

In the seventh inning, the Hawks grabbed the lead. After pitcher CJ Dandeneau allowed two runners to reach base with one out, UConn head coach Jim Penders replaced him with Doug Domnarski. Domnarski gave up an RBI single to Erik Ostberg and walked in another run with the bases loaded, allowing Hartford to take a 4-2 lead. Dandeneau was tagged with both runs, and eventually picked up the loss.

UConn responded in the eighth inning with a run of their own, as Daniello smacked a solo home run to cut the deficit in half. That was the only run of the frame, as relievers Devin Over and Patrick Ruotolo kept the Hawks off the scoreboard in the home half to keep the lead at 4-3 heading into the ninth inning. 

With their 9-1-2 hitters coming to the plate needing a run, the Huskies could not get the job done. Melley and Willy Yahn picked up a pair of two-out singles to put the tying run in scoring position, but DeRoche-Duffin popped out to end the game. Collin Ferguson picked up the save as the Hawks secured a 4-3 win.

The defeat dropped UConn to 36-15 in their all-time series against Hartford.

The Huskies will be back in action this weekend as they play their first road American Athletic Conference series in Cincinnati. UConn will meet the Bearcats for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


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