Anthony Kay was dominant Saturday morning in Game 1 of UConn's doubleheader at East Carolina. Unfortunately, the Husky offense struggled and led to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Pirates.
Kay went eight strong innings in a pitchers' duel, giving up just one earned run on just three hits. His 10 strikeouts were tied for the most in his collegiate career and moved Kay to fourth on the UConn all-time strikeout list with 223, passing fellow teammates Carson Cross (222) and Anthony Marzi (217).
20th-ranked East Carolina was able to strike first in the contest in the bottom of the second. The Pirates' Turner Brown notched an RBI double off of Kay with two outs to take an early 1-0 advantage.
The Huskies looked poised to strike back in the top half of the fourth, still down 1-0. Willy Yahn got things started with a double down the line, which was followed by a disciplined walk by captain Bobby Melley with just one out. But a pair of flyouts by Joe DeRoche-Duffin and Tyler Gnesda ended the frame as the Pirates kept their 1-0 lead.
The score would remain 1-0 until the eighth inning as both starters continued dealing late into the ballgame. A single off the bat of Jack Sundberg was followed by an error by the East Carolina third baseman to put runners at the corners for captain Bobby Melley. The senior slugger was able to drive in his fellow captain with a single to right field to tie the game up.
A strong eighth inning from Kay kept the score even heading into the final inning of play. Randy Polonia replaced Kay in the bottom of the ninth after UConn stranded the go-ahead run in Zac Susi on second. After a scoreless home half, the Huskies and Pirates would head to extra innings.
Polonia started the bottom of the tenth with a leadoff walk to Kirk Morgan. A well-executed sacrifice bunt followed as Morgan moved to second base with one out. Two straight walks (one intentional) loaded the bases as East Carolina looked to walk off with a win. Another Polonia walk scored Morgan from third as the Pirates won in the 10th inning, 2-1.
The loss drops the Huskies to 20-17 on the season, 5-4 in conference play. UConn is playing again Saturday as part of a double-header at 6:30 PM. Freshman southpaw Tim Cate will be starting for the Huskies.