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UConn Takes Two of Three From Columbia

After losing Friday in New York, the Huskies swept the Saturday double header to take the series against the Lions.

Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus
Game 1

by Ryan Melillo

Looking to rebound from a home loss to CCSU on Wednesday afternoon, the UConn Huskies traveled to New York City Friday afternoon to square off against the Columbia Lions. Junior ace Anthony Kay got the start.

Similar to Wednesday, UConn dug themselves an early hole.  In the bottom half of the first, Columbia's Nick Maguire launched a home run over the right field fence to give the Lions an early 2-0 advantage.

Columbia plated another runner in the bottom half of the second, which ended with UConn left fielder John Toppa gunning down a runner at the plate to minimize potential run damage.

At 3-0 heading into the third, UConn began to show signs of life from the top of the order. Jack Sundberg led off with a single, which was followed by a Willy Yahn double. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, senior Bobby Melley grounded out to second but fortunately was able to advance both runners and scoring Sundberg in the process.

The RBI was Melley's team-leading 24th of the season. With a runner at third and one out, senior Joe DeRoche-Duffin belted a deep sacrifice fly to left field, which was deep enough to allow Willy Yahn to cross the plate safely and make it a 3-2 ballgame.

This Lions held on to their one-run lead held until the top of the seventh when Jack Sundberg crushed a solo shot to even the score. The home run was the second of the year for the Huskies' captain.

Where it looked as if UConn was starting to gain the edge in the contest, Columbia had an answer. Logan Boyher hit a solo home run off of Anthony Kay to give the Lions a 4-3 lead.  This would end up being the game-winning play, as Columbia went on to win it by a final score of 4-3.

Anthony Kay took the loss for UConn, moving to 2-2 on the season. Despite the losing effort, Kay pitched an 8.0 innings, letting up a total of four earned runs on eight hits in the performance while striking out seven batters.

Jack Sundberg was a bright spot for the Huskies as well, going 3-for-4 at the plate, highlighted by his game-tying home run in the seventh inning.  He also scored two runs and recorded a steal.

Photo Credit:  Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus

Game 2

by Shawn McGrath

UConn baseball got back on track Saturday, winning both games of their doubleheader against the Columbia Lions on Saturday. In the first, UConn won 3-0 behind a strong pitching performance by freshman Tim Cate and a three-run seventh where the Lions committed two errors.

Columbia was held to only five hits, and only had one true opportunity to score when they loaded the bases against Cate in the top of the fourth inning. After a lead-off walk, a couple of wild pitches, and a bunt single, the bases were loaded with only one man out. Lane Robinette, the next batter for the Lions, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Cate finished his outing with two 1-2-3 innings, and the bullpen continued to shut down the Lions over the final three innings. CJ Dandeneau, Doug Domnarski and Patrick Ruotolo combined to allow three runners to reach base, with none making it past second base.

The Huskies shared their lack of offensive success through the middle part of the game, outside of loading the bases in the bottom of the third, before breaking through in the seventh.

Jack Sundberg forced a one-out walk, and moved to second when Bryan Daniello grounded out to the pitcher. Bobby Melley was hit by a pitch to give the Huskies runners on first and second with two down. Willy Yahn singled to load the bases for Joe DeRoche-Duffin but he was unable to capitalize, grounding out to short to end the inning.

Columbia starter Kevin Roy was pitching well and had retired the last eight he faced going into the seventh, but was unable to finish the inning. All three runs were tabbed to him.

UConn again was threatening with two outs, but this time they were able to push runs across the plate. Keith Krueger singled between Zac Susi and Aaron Hill strikeouts, and Sundberg singled with two down. Bryan Daniello singled, and that was it for Roy.

Bobby Melley came to the plate with two runners in scoring position and two outs, and then the second baseman for Columbia committed an error, and both Sundberg and Daniello corssed the plate, to give UConn a 3-0 lead after seven full innings. The Huskies held on for the win.

Game 3

by Shawn McGrath

In the second game of the doubleheader, UConn made it back to .500 with their second consecutive win against Columbia, 4-3. The Huskies were down 3-2 heading into the ninth, but Connor Buckley played hero with the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth.

Columbia struck early to take a 1-0 lead after the top half of the first. UConn starter Ronnie Rossamando threw a wild pitch, which allowed John Kinne across the plate after he singled and advanced.

After Rossmando struck out the side in the second, Columbia scored two more runs, extending their lead to 3-0. Kinne singled to center, scoring Will Savage after he doubled. Paller singled through the right side, and then after a Maguire strikeout, Bartelman flew out to center. Kinne scored when Bobby Melley committed an error on the play.

UConn's bullpen once again played a key role, only allowing three base runners over the final six innings. Wills Montgomerie, Doug Domnarski and Randy Polonia combined to shut out Columbia over the final six innings.

UConn started their comeback effort in the third, scoring one run to cut the lead to 3-1. John Toppa led off with a single, and one of Alex LeFevre's two doubles pushed him across, but the Huskies couldn't get anything else going, with three consecutive ground outs to end the inning.

Columbia retired 13 straight Huskies before Joe DeRoche-Duffin broke through with a one-out single in the seventh. Daniello struck out, but DeRoche-Duffin was able to advance to second on a wild pitch strike three. Toppa reached on an error by the third baseman, which allowed DeRoche-Duffin to move to third, and with two outs, LeFevre had runners on the corners. He singled to right, bringing DeRoche-Duffin across the plate.

Connor Buckley came on to pinch-hit for Aaron Hill, but he grounded out to shortstop to end the threat. Heading into the eighth, UConn was down 3-2.

Daniello led off the ninth inning with a single, then pinch hitter Keith Krueger was hit by a pitch. LeFevre came to the plate and hit a sac-fly putting runners on second and third with one down in the inning. Connor Buckley came to the plate, and after a wild pitch that brought Daniello in, had a runner on third with one down. Buckley hit a grounder and Krueger tried to go in and score,

He reached on a fielder's choice when Columbia tried and failed to cut Krueger down at the plate. Krueger was safe, and UConn escaped with a 4-3 walk off win.

UConn looks to make it three straight against the Boston College Eagles on Tuesday in Chestnut Hill. First pitch is at 3 p.m.