UConn baseball lost Wednesday to the Central Connecticut Blue Devils, 8-4 to put the Huskies are now 9-10 on the season.
Andrew Zapata got the start, but the Blue Devils were hitting the ball where the Huskies weren't, scoring seven runs in the first two innings with only one extra base hit. UConn also struggled to finish innings, with Central's first seven runs all coming with two outs. This overshadowed a 4-5 batting performance from Willy Yahn and John Toppa's first career home run.
With two outs, Dean Lockery forced a full count and earned the walk, and things started to come undone for Zapata and the Huskies. Andrew Hinckley doubled in the right-center gap, bringing Lockery to the plate from first. Ryan Costello then singled, and Hinckley crossed the plate safely. Costello advanced to second on the throw, which allowed him to score on Connor Fitzsimon's single. Zapata was able to get out of the inning, but it was 3-0 Blue Devils early.
After the Huskies left the bases loaded in the bottom half of the first, Central came through with another two-out rally, striking for four runs. Zapata again retired the first two batters, but Balunek singled, and so did Lockery. Hinckley was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Blue Devils. Zapata walked Costello, and that was it for him. Sam Nepiarsky came in, and struggled at first, but only allowed one hit in relief.
Fitzsimons, the next hitter, singled on the second pitch he saw from Nepiarsky, bringing home Lockery and Hinckley. He took second when the throw home from Jack Sundberg went to the backstop, and Costello took third.
The Huskies thought they were out of the second on a Matt Martinez strikeout, but strike three got away from catcher Zac Susi, Costello crossed the plate safely, and Martinez was able to reach first. Nepiarsky settled down, and retired Martinez on a fielder's choice to end the top of the second, with the Huskies down 7-0.
Outside of leaving the bases loaded in the first, UConn didn't have a good chance to score until the fourth, when with one out, John Toppa hit a deep fly to left field after Connor Buckley reached with a lead-off single.
The bullpen performed very well after the end of the second inning for UConn. Nepiarsky, CJ Dandeneau, Dan Rajkowski, Devin Over, Doug Domnarski and Patrick Ruotolo combined to allow one run and five hits over the final 7.1 innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks, with the only run allowed on a solo home run by Costello that just barely left the park over the right field fence.
UConn was facing an 8-2 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh. Willy Yahn came up with one out, and hit a rope over the center fielder's head. He cruised into second, for the first of three consecutive doubles by UConn. Bobby Melley brought Yahn across the plate. Joe DeRoche-Duffin hit one into the left-center gap, hitting the base of the fence. By the time he reached second base, Melley had scored, and UConn seemed to have a rally going, but it was short-lived.
Tyler Gnesda and Bryan Daniello were both retired in short order, ending the threat. It was 8-4 after seven full innings, and that is how it would end. Zapata took the loss.
The UConn Huskies travel to Columbia University on Friday for a date with the Lions in New York. First pitch is at 3:30 p.m.