While all the focus of Husky Nation was in Hartford this past weekend and the UConn basketball team's thrilling, albeit unsuccessful, run to the AAC tournament finals, the baseball team was quietly taking care of business in Greenville, South Carolina, sweeping the BB&T College Baseball Series.
The Huskies improve to 10-6 on the season, and have now won nine of their last 11.
After a rainout on Friday night, the Huskies got off to a hot start Saturday morning and didn't look back. Carson Cross struck out the side to start the game, and then after a Jack Sundberg double and a Bobby Melley walk, Joe Deroche-Duffin belted a three-run home run to left center field to put the Huskies on top.
Cross (4-1) ended up going six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits, three walks, and 10 strikeouts. It was the third game in a row that the Huskies ace struck out at least 10.
The top of the order paced the UConn attack with two-hit games from Sundberg (2-5, double, two runs scored), Vinny Siena (2-5, double, two runs scored), and Max McDowell (2-3, walk, two RBI).
After reliever Trevor Holmes came on for Cross in the eighth and gave up an unearned run, Devin Over came on to pitch two shutout innings and struck out four on his way to clinching the Huskies' first win of the weekend.
Friday night's rainout against Furman became the nightcap in a day-night double header on Saturday, and the Huskies rode the momentum from their morning victory to a 12-1 blowout. The UConn offense pounded out 13 hits and helped Anthony Kay pick up his third win of the season.
Bobby Melley and Vinny Siena, who each had three hits and two RBI, led the offensive attack for the Huskies, as the top of the order came through in a big way once again.
Sundberg reached base five times, scored three times, and picked up his 11th steal of the year.
The hit that broke the game open was a two-run double by Jon Testani, who has been on a tear to start the season (more on that in game three).
Kay was his typical superb self on the hill, going seven strong, giving up just one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven to improve to 3-1 on the year.
The final game during the weekend was a match-up with 7-8 Michigan State that turned out to be a thriller.
Jordan Tabakman gave the Huskies a stellar start, going seven innings and giving up just one run on four hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. After giving up an RBI single in the first inning, he settled down and took control of the Spartan's bats.
UConn tied the game up in the top of the second when Melley doubled down the right field line and scored on Bryan Daniello's sacrifice fly.
The score remained tied at one until the top of the ninth when Deroche-Duffin singled to left, and was bunted to second base by Daniello. Freshman Connor Buckley struck out swinging bringing Testani, who was 1-3 on the day, to the plate with two outs. Testani came through in the clutch and drove a pitch over the left field fence for his second home run of the season to give the Huskies a 3-1 lead.
Pat Ruotolo came back out to pitch the ninth after coming on in the 8th to get the final two outs of the inning with runners on second and third. The sophomore forced two pop-ups and a strikeout in the ninth, shutting the door and clinching the Huskies' first weekend sweep of the season.
The 10-6 Huskies have a busy spring break, traveling to Wake Forest Tuesday to play the 13-8 Demon Deacons at 6:00 pm before heading to Williamsburg, Virginia for a Wednesday night game against William and Mary (10-5).
After the two mid-week games the team travels so South Orange, NJ to play against Fordham and Seton Hall on Friday and then Seton Hall again on Saturday.