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UConn Baseball Grabs Win Over Yale in Home Opener

The Huskies delivered an outstanding performance in their first game of the season at J.O. Christian Field.

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The UConn Huskies won 8-2 Tuesday afternoon over the Yale Bulldogs to move to 6-4 on the season. The Huskies scored their eight runs on 11 hits, while Yale could only muster seven hits, five of which were in the final three innings.

Andrew Zapata got the win, bringing his record to 2-0 on the season.

UConn started quickly, with leadoff man Jack Sundberg getting on base with a walk before he stole second. Willy Yahn then forced a bad throw from Yale shortstop Tom O'Neill, putting runners on first and second with no one out. The Bulldogs' starter on the hill Mason Kukowski struck out both Bobby Melley and Joe DeRoche-Duffin to bring up Tyler Gnesda with two down in the inning.

Gnesda doubled into the left-center gap, bringing both Sundberg and Yahn around to score. Then Bryan Daniello brought him around on a single to right on an 0-2 count. It was 3-0 Huskies after one inning.

UConn added another run in the bottom of the second, bringing Troy Stefanski around to score. He drew a one-out walk then stole second base. He advanced to third when Sundberg grounded out to second, and Yahn singled him home. Melley singled, as well, but DeRoche-Duffin popped out to third to end the threat, and it was 4-0 Huskies after two.

Kukowski's day was done after 2.0 innings, allowing four runs, one earned, on four hits, with two walks and one strikeout.

The Huskies were shut down until the eighth by a combination of Sam Boies, Tyler Duncan, and Chris Lanham, with the trio combining for 4.0 innings allowing zero walks and only three hits.

UConn pitcher Andrew Zapata only allowed two hits through 6.0 innings, with no runs and two walks to go along with four strikeouts. The only time he was truly in trouble was in the fifth, when Yale had runners on the corners with two outs, after a pair of walks, but he got O'Neill to pop out to end the threat. Devin Over pitched a 1-2-3 seventh before the Huskies struck again.

UConn sent all nine men up to the plate in their half of the seventh. Willy Yahn singled to center with one down for his third hit of the day. He then scored all the way from first on a Bobby Melley double. DeRoche-Duffin was hit by a pitch, and then Tyler Gnesda singled to right, bringing Melley home. It was 6-0 UConn, and they had runners on second and third with one out after Gnesda made a heads up play to steal second.

Zac Susi came up with two down and hit the ball hard again for a two-run single to make it 8-0 in favor of the Huskies.

Yale got its first offensive spark in the ninth inning off of Randy Polonia, after Doug Domarski and Nico Darras combined for a scoreless eighth.

Alec Hoeschel tripled down the right field line to lead off the ninth, scoring on the next play when Tom Ruddy grounded out to third. Richard Slenka singled, and so did Adams, on his second bunt down the right field line. Griffin Dey singled on a full count, and the bases were loaded with one out. Brent Lawson had a sacrifice fly to left, bringing in Yale's second run, before O'Neill struck out looking to end the game.

UConn travels to California next weekend, playing against William & Mary on Friday, with first pitch coming at 1 p.m.