The UConn baseball team looked to stay hot and extend its six-game win streak Tuesday on a sunny but windy afternoon at Earl Lorden Field in Amherst. In a series dating back to the 1900 season, UConn gave sophomore pitcher Joe Rivera his first career start.
Unfortunately, the right-hander from Plantsville, Conn. lasted just 2.1 innings in his debut as the Huskies dropped their mid-week matchup, 9-5. Rivera gave up a total of two earned runs on just two hits, adding one strikeout. The Huskies went on to use a total of seven pitchers in relief.
UMass got on the board first. A well-hit single after a pair of walks by Rivera sent one across the plate to give the Minutemen a 1-0 advantage after one inning.
UConn's John Toppa singled in the top of the second to score DH Tyler Gnesda from second to even up the score at 1-1, where it would stay until the third.
UMass and UConn traded runs in the third to make it 2-2 before UMass broke out for four runs in the home half of the fourth. The inning was highlighted by a three-run double by Dylan Morris.
The Huskies continued to match the UMass bats in the fifth. An RBI double off the bat of Bobby Melley was followed by RBI singles by DeRoche-Duffin and Yahn as UConn scored three runs on four hits to cut the deficit to 6-5.
But UMass continued to stay hot at the plate. In the eighth inning, Dylan Morris laced an RBI triple to make it a 7-5 ballgame. The Minutemen tallied on two more insurance runs to extend their lead to 9-5 heading to the top of the ninth. The 9-5 lead would hold as UMass took the win.
The Huskies fall to 19-16 on the season despite totalling nine hits on the day. Last week's AAC Player of the Week Joe DeRoche-Duffin had two hits on the day. Aaron Hill and John Toppa also had two hits for the Huskies, who remain at second place in the AAC standings.
UConn will travel to UMass-Lowell next to face the Riverhawks on Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Huskies look to get their first win on the second contest of a 9-game road trip.