UConn entered the weekend riding a three-game winning streak but couldn’t win their first series in American Athletic Conference play, dropping two out of three games at the University of South Florida.
The Huskies used a six-run second inning to lift themselves over the Bulls in the series opener on Friday night.
USF’s All-American pitcher Shane McClanahan went three-up, three-down in the first inning, but gave up a homerun to Isaac Feldstein to open the second inning and couldn’t regain his composure.
The Huskies proceeded to add five more runs in the inning, most of them coming of the bat of Anthony Prato. With the bases loaded, Prato took McClanahan over the fence for the sophomore’s first homerun of the year and the Huskies’ second grand slam of the season.
As usual, UConn didn’t have much to worry about pitching-wise with Tim Cate on the mound. Cate struck out the first eight batters he faced and struck out a season-high 11. Cate is now 13 strikeouts away from tying UConn’s all-time strikeout leader Anthony Kay’s 263 putdowns.
The Bulls did manage to collect a run off Cate in the fourth inning and three more off relievers Jacob Wallace and Trevor Holmes. However, P.J. Poulin shut the door on USF to preserve the 6-4 lead and earn his sixth save of the season.
UConn couldn’t make it five straight wins on Saturday as the Bulls used a massive inning of their own to even up the series.
The Huskies carried a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning but USF lit up reliever Ronnie Rossomando for five runs in the frame.
The Bulls added another run in the seventh for insurance they wouldn’t need as USF’s relievers kept the Huskies’ bats silent in the backend of the contest.
In Sunday’s rubber match, neither team could cross home plate through six innings. UConn was the first to put runs on the board when Troy Stefaksnki knocked in Zac Susi with the bases loaded on an RBI fielder’s choice. Christian Fedko followed up by hitting into a double day, but was able to score Isaac Feldstein from third.
The Bulls’ tying run came in the eight inning when Joe Genord took Poulin high and deep over the face for a two-run homerun to make it 2-2 going into the ninth inning.
USF made sure the game would end in regulation when Duke Stunkel JR was able to single into right-centerfield, allowing TD to reach all the way from first.
The Huskies will look to return to their winnings way when they travel to Boston College on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.