The newly ranked UConn baseball team didn’t live up to their expectations Tuesday afternoon, dropping their midweek matchup with Bulldogs 9-3 on the back of a really poor sixth inning from the Huskies’ bullpen. The loss is a setback for UConn, which was riding high after sweeping their second consecutive weekend series to start the conference schedule.
“Tip your hat to Bryant, they played a lot better than we did,” UConn head coach Jim Penders said in a postgame video posted to the @UConnBaseball Twitter account. “They certainly deserved to win the ball game. We didn’t play well at all today in any aspect of the game, our offense, our defense, our pitching all were below average.”
UConn had a decent inning at the plate in the fourth, scoring three runs on an RBI single by Chris Winkel and a two-RBI double from freshman infielder Conor Moriarty. It seemed as though the Huskies were on the way to a win. However, it was not to be.
The real story of the game was the sixth inning. Starter Ronnie Rossomando did his job on the mound, going five innings with just three hits and one run allowed. Up until that point, the Huskies were up 3-1 and looked to be in good shape. However, left-handed reliever Doug Domnarski started the bottom of the sixth inning and it was all downhill from there. Domnarski allowed two runs to tie the game and left runners on the corners with no outs before making way for the usually dependable Ryan Radue.
Radue didn’t have much more success than Domnarski. By the time Radue’s day was done, two more runs had come through for the Bulldogs to make it a 5-3 Bryant lead and the bases were loaded and ready for more with just one out. The right-handed CJ Dandeneau was called to the mound to relieve Radue, but he couldn’t stifle the Bulldogs’ hit parade either, allowing four more runs home. The Huskies finally got some respite when junior pitcher Trevor Holmes stopped the bleeding and ended the sixth inning with a 9-3 deficit.
“[The sixth inning] felt like an hour long, and I didn’t see much good,” Penders said in the video. “Trevor Holmes showed me something today. He wasn’t afraid of contact, came right in and threw strikes. The first two runs were the result of leadoff walks. That can’t happen, non-competitive pitches, we got to be better than that.”
The loss drops UConn to 19-11 on the year, but the No. 25 Huskies will have a chance to rebound with a conference series against Tulane on the road in New Orleans, Louisiana from Thursday to Saturday. If UConn continues its conference winning streak with a third sweep this weekend, they could climb further up the polls next week and be firmly in position for an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, even if they don’t win the conference tournament.