The No. 24-ranked UConn Huskies suffered their first losing weekend of the season at the hands of North Florida. The Ospreys lit up UConn for 14 runs over the three days at Dusty Rhodes Field. The series loss drops UConn’s record to 5-4.
The Huskies took the series opener on Friday night, 5-4, behind the work of starting pitcher Tim Cate. His two earned runs in seven innings were enough to earn the left-hander his 10th career win in a UConn uniform.
Cate had plenty of room for error after the Huskies whacked North Florida starting pitcher Brad Depperman for four runs in the second inning. Cate mowed down the Ospreys, striking out 10, and faced the minimum in five of his seven innings. The junior left the game with a 5-2 lead to show for his work.
C.J. Daneneau came on in relief but was quickly yanked after two earned runs. P.J. Poulin was called upon to make the four-out save and he didn’t disappoint, picking up his third save of the season in an as many chances.
North Florida got their payback on Saturday, and they didn’t wait long to do it. UConn starter Mason Feole got two quick outs to start the game but the Ospreys collected five two-out RBI’s in the opening frame. UConn and Feole rebounded from the disastrous start but North Florida held on to earn the 6-5 victory.
Feole stayed in for five more scoreless innings and his offense took him out of contention for the loss after a three-run third inning and two-run seventh. However, with the game tied at 5-5 in the eighth, North Florida reached on a throwing error by first baseman Chris Winkel for the game-winning run.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead in the rubber game but mistakes and miscues caused the Huskies to leave Florida with one lone win.
John Toppa and Troy Stefanski both notched RBI’s to put UConn up 2-1 through four innings but the Ospreys seized control of the game during a wild sixth inning. Despite only collecting one hit in the frame, every North Florida batter got a chance at the plate as three walks and two errors allowed the Ospreys to collect three runs and take the 4-2 lead.
Trevor Holmes came out of the Huskies’ bullpen tasked with keeping a sinking ship afloat, and the senior delivered. Holmes pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless ball and retired seven of the eight batters he faced.
It’s largely due to Holmes that UConn was in position to tie the game late. The Huskies had the tying run on second base with one out in the ninth but a fly out to left and a ground out ended the comeback and the game.
UConn’s eight walks given up on the day were a season high.
UConn return to Storrs for their home opening against Yale on Wednesday. First pitch against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.