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Catching up with UConn Baseball

We've had a few games since our last recap, here's a quick gamer from all the action.

William & Mary - Game 1 of 2

UConn baseball beat the William & Mary Tribe in Northridge, California by a score of 18-1 on Friday, behind 8.1 innings from starter Anthony Kay, who only allowed one run. UConn also enjoyed a 4-6 hitting effort from Willy Yahn, who had five RBI, four of which came on a 6th inning grand slam which was the exclamation point of a nine-run inning.

Kay didn't allow a hit through four full innings, and just 10 hits across the 8+ innings of work.

UConn had a two-run second, starting with a one-out Bryan Daniello single. He stole second base, and then made it to third when the William & Mary starter, Nick Brown, threw a pick-off attempt into the outfield. Zac Susi doubled him home. Aaron Hill, the next hitter, was hit by a pitch and stole second. Shortstop Kyle Wrighte dropped the throw, and Susi crossed the plate.

The Huskies added a in the fourth when Aaron Hill doubled in Stefanski. They added three more in the fifth. Melley drew a one-out walk, and Gnesda got a two-out walk, forcing Brown out of the game. Bryan Daniello tripled in the right-center gap, bringing home both of them. He scored on a wild pitch, and the Huskies were up 6-0 after four and a half innings.

The Tribe were held quiet until the bottom of the fifth, when Charles Ameer broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single. Ryder Miconi singled, as well. Jason Waldman flew out to right, and Ameer was able to advance to third for Hunter Smith to single him home. After five full, it was 6-1 UConn.

UConn broke it open in the sixth. Jack Sundberg led it off with a walk, and Yahn singled to right, with Sundberg going first to third. Yahn got to second on a passed ball, and after a Melley strikeout, DeRoche-Duffin walked to load the bases. Gnesda singled, scoring Sundberg and Melley. Daniello singled, but DeRoche-Duffin was thrown out at the plate trying to score. Susi singled to bring Gnesda home, and it was 9-1 Huskies.

Troy Stefanski continued the single assembly line, allowing Daniello to score. Hill reached on an error by third baseman Jason Waldman, loading the bases. Sundberg walked, which brought in a run, bringing up Willy Yahn. He hit a first-pitch grand slam over the left field fence, giving the Huskies a 15-1 lead.

In the ninth, William & Mary gave their first real threat for multiple runs but was unable to convert. Three singles and a fly out loaded the bases with one out, and Anthony Kay left the mound. He threw 8.1 innings, with one run, 10 hits, six strikeouts and one walk. Sam Nepiarsky came in to pitch and got a pop out to shortstop and then a strikeout looking to end the game.

William & Mary Game 2

UConn's second game against William & Mary was much lower scoring. The Huskies beat the Tribe in walk-off fashion, 3-2 in Northridge, California.

Freshman Tim Cate made his first career start, and he made the most of the opportunity. He threw six innings, only allowing one unearned run over six hits to go along with 11 strikeouts and zero walks. Randy Polonia got the win despite blowing a save.

The Tribe broke onto the scoreboard first, even though it took all the way until the sixth inning. Charley Gould started it off with a leadoff single and Cullen Large sacrificed him over to second with a bunt. Charles Ameer struck out, and Jason Waldman came to the plate. He forced first baseman Bobby Melley to make an error and Gould was able to come around from second and score. William & Mary came out with a 1-0 lead.

UConn came back in the bottom of the seventh with two of their own unearned runs to go ahead. Joe-DeRoche Duffin reached on a leadoff throwing error by third baseman Waldman. After a Tyler Gnesda strikeout, Bryan Daniello was hit by a pitch, and there were runners on first and second with one out. Waldman committed another error with Zac Susi at the plate, and the bases were loaded with Huskies for Troy Stefanski.

Stefanski grounded to second, and Susi was forced out, but they couldn't complete the double play, and DeRoche-Duffin scored to tie the game. With second base open, Stefanski stole second, confusing the Tribe defense, and Daniello was able to move the final 90 feet to cross the plate. It was 2-1 Huskies after seven.

Randy Polonia came in for the save, but was unable to keep the lead. He hit Josh Smith with a pitch, who stole second while pinch-hitter Nick Butts was at the plate. He struck out swinging and then Wrighte struck out looking and it was all down to Ryan Hall with the tying run 180 feet away. He came through for the Tribe, plating Smith with a single up the middle, to tie the game at two.

Bryan Daniello got the UConn half of the ninth started with a double in the right-center gap. Susi then did his job, flying out to right, allowing Daniello to take third. Stefanski came up with one out, and the winning run at third, and he was able to get bat on ball, singling through the right side, bringing Daniello across to win the game for UConn.

Cal-State Northridge

UConn fell again to Cal State Northridge in the second half of the twin billing, 2-1, falling to 8-5 on the season. It was a defensive affair, with the Huskies’ run coming in the fifth, and both of Cal State Northridge’s runs coming in the eighth. The Huskies only had two hits, both of which came in the fourth. Devin Over took the loss.

UConn was no-hit through three, and the Madators of Cal State Northridge didn’t get their first hit until the third.

The Huskies struck first, in the top of the fifth. Connor Buckley doubled to lead off the inning, moved to third on a Zac Susi groundout, and scored on a Troy Stefanski sacrifice fly to left.

Ronnie Rossamando went 5.1 innings, allowing only four hits, but also allowed four walks. Two of his hits got him into a jam, and Doug Domnarski and Devin Over came in in relief to get him out of it. Justin Toerner hit a one-out double into the right-center gap, and Nolan Bumstead singled, putting runners on the corners, and ending Rossamando’s day. Domnarski got a groundball, but UConn was unable to turn the double play. Over then came in to finish the job, getting Jose Ruiz to fly out to right field. After six full, it was 1-0 UConn.

UConn had a chance to add to their lead in the seventh, with Bryan Daniello advancing to third off of a walk, a wild pitch, and a ground out to the left side, and Stefanski had a chance to bring him in with two out, but he fouled out to third to end the threat.

UConn had a similar opportunity in the eighth, except it was Jack Sundberg who got the lead-off walk, and made it to third after a sacrifice bunt and groundout. Joe DeRoche-Duffin was unable to bring him around, grounding out to third.

The Matadors won the game in the bottom of the eighth. Branden Barry led off the bottom of the eighth against Devin Over, and he led it off in a big way. He hit a home run, and tied the game. Albee Weiss singled to center, and pinch runner Nolan Flashman was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Bumstead singled him to third, and Flashman crossed the plate for the game winning run on a Dylan Alexander sacrifice fly. He had pinch hit for Michael Russo. DeRoche-Duffin made a throwing error, and this allowed Bumstead to go from first to third on the play. William Colontono, pinch hitting for Ruiz, tried to bunt to get Bumstead across, but Susi tagged him for the out before he crossed the plate.

UConn had a chance to tie in the top of the ninth, when Daniello walked with one down, but he was caught stealing, and then Buckley grounded to shortstop for the final out of the game.

The Huskies play next against the University of Southern California Trojans on Tuesday, at 9 p.m. Eastern time, before they head to Santa Barbara for a weekend series against UC Santa Barbara.

UC Santa Barbara Game 1 of 2

Following a dramatic win @ USC on Tuesday afternoon, the Huskies traveled to Santa Barbara to close out their 8-game west coast road trip with a weekend series against nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara.  Carrying a 9-6 overall record, UConn looked to ace lefty Anthony Kay to build on the recent success.

The Gauchos (12-3) jumped on Kay early, scoring a run right out of the gates on a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the first to make it a 1-0 ballgame.  Kay was then able to work his way out of a jam, setting up a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning and minimize potential damage.

Moving forward, Kay managed to settle in, going a total of 6 and 2/3 innings, only allowing two earned runs on four strikeouts.  The second earned run was let up after a UCSB single up the middle by Austin Bush following back-to-back walks by Anthony Kay.  Kay’s performance did not factor into the decision.

Freshman C Zac Susi helped the Huskies even up the score in the top of the third.  After reaching second base on a double, an Aaron Hill sac-bunt moved him over to third.  Susi then managed to reach home on a groundout by captain Jack Sundberg.

The score remained 1-1 until the Austin Bush RBI single (mentioned above), giving the Gauchos a 2-1 advantage.  UConn had an answer to this in the top of the eighth, when OF Jack Sundberg broke up a double play that allowed Connor Buckley to sneak home from third.

Still knotted up at 2-2 heading into the final inning of play, DH Tyler Gnesda blasted a solo shot to left to give the Huskies their first and only lead of the day.  The home run was the third of the season for Gnesda, who continues to showcase his power at the plate for UConn.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth, freshman closer Randy Polonia (1-2) looked to preserve a 3-2 Husky lead.  The 21st-ranked UCSB Gauchos wouldn’t go away that easy, however.  Austin Hunt launched a home run with two men on and one out to give the Gauchos a 5-3 lead as the UCSB squad walked off with a win at home.

With the loss, the Huskies move to 9-7 in 2016.  Despite the heartbreak loss Friday, UConn looks to bounce back on Saturday in the second game of the three-game set at UC Santa Barbara.  First pitch is set for 5 PM eastern time.

UC Santa Barbara Game 2

The UConn Huskies (9-8) were defeated for the second straight afternoon by the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, 9-6. UConn starter Tim Cate threw 6+ innings, only allowing one earned run. Nico Darras was served the loss, while Bobby Melley led the offense, going 3-5 with three RBI, two of which were a home run in the seventh.

UConn started off hot in the top of the first, manufacturing a Jack Sundberg run. After Sundberg singled, he stole second, and Willy Yahn was able to move him over after a groundout to the left side. Bobby Melley grounded out to the first baseman, pushing Sundberg across. Tyler Gnesda struck out swinging to end the frame, but it was 1-0 Huskies after half an inning.

Tim Cate started off very strong, retiring the first seven he faced, and striking out four straight at a point. But after allowing a Clay Fisher leadoff single, the Gauchos were able to push him across, tying the game at one.

Andrew Calica reached on an Aaron Hill thowing error with one down, and Fisher, who was on second after a stolen base, scored on the play. Cate was able to induce a Dempsey Grover fly out to end the third, with the score tied at one.

UC Santa Barbara added another unearned in the bottom of the fourth. Michael McAdoo led off with a single, and advanced to second on the second error of the day by Aaron Hill. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a two out fielder’s choice by Billy Fredrick. JJ Muno bunted out to end the inning.

UConn tied it up again in the top of the sixth. Melley got on base with a one-out double, and Gnesda walked, to put runners on first and second for Bryan Daniello, who popped out. But Joe DeRoche-Duffin came through for the Huskies, singling home Melley with two down in the inning. Heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Gauchos and the Huskies were knotted at two.

The Huskies added three more in the top of the seventh, and found themselves up 5-2 at seventh inning stretch time. Alex LeFerve was hit by a pitch, and Alex Garcia came in in relief of starter Noah Davis. LeFerve moved to second on a wild pitch, and Connor Buckley, who subbed in for Hill in the bottom of the fifth, walked. Sundberg sacrificed with a bunt, to put runners on second and third for Yahn with only one down, and he did his job. He hit a sacrifice fly to right, bringing in LeFerve, and Melley hit a two-run home run to bring the lead to 5-2 for UConn.

But in the bottom half of the inning, UC Santa Barbara came storming back. After allowing a leadoff single to Fisher, Cate was replaced by Devin Over. Ryan Clark grounded out, but Fisher was able to get to second, with one down. Calica singled, and Fisher crossed the plate, to close the gap to two runs.

Dempsey Grover doubled to left, and that brought Clark home, and Over out of the game, for Nico Darras. McAdoo doubled, which brought Grover home, to tie the game. He advanced to third on a throwing error by Troy Stefanski. There could have been more damaged, after Austin Bush was intentionally walked, and Kyle Plantier was hit by a pitch, but Darras was able to get a pop out and a ground out to end the seventh with a tie game.

UConn took the lead again, in the eighth. DeRoche-Duffin was hit by a pitch with one down, and was pushed to second on a LeFerve single, after John Toppa pinch hit for Stefanski and popped out. Buckley came to the plate with two down, and singled up the middle, to push DeRoche-Duffin across the plate to reclaim the lead for the Huskies. The inning ended when LeFerve tried to take third on Buckley’s single.

UC Santa Barbara took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth, busting the game open with four runs in their half of the eighth. Fisher led it off after getting hit by a pitch, and Clark singled on a hit-and-run play, to put runners on the corners, which spurned Coach Penders into bringing in Patrick Ruotolo to pitch. He threw a wild pitch, and Fisher scored, while Clark moved to second. Calica walked, and Grover moved Clark and Calica to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. McAdoo tripled, and both of them came in to score safely. Bush then flew out to center, deep enough to bring in McAdoo, for a 9-6 Gaucho lead.

UConn was unable to get anything going in the top of the ninth, and the game ended with the Gauchos winning 9-6.