After two ninth-inning comeback attempts came up short, the UConn bats came through Wednesday afternoon in the ninth inning to defeat Northeastern, 9-8. Pat Ruotolo gets the win.
Joe DeRoche-Duffin hit two home runs on the day while Bryan Daniello added three RBI of his own. Zac Susi, in his only hit of the afternoon, played the hero.
The Huskies started off strong and looked to have the win in hand. Starting pitcher Jack Riley retired the first 12 batters he faced and the Huskies took an early lead.
After a single to lead off the third inning by Aaron Hill, Bobby Melley singled him home for his 40th RBI of the season. The next batter, Joe DeRoche-Duffin, launched his American Athletic Conference-leading 13th home run of the season to give UConn a 3-0 advantage after three innings.
In the fifth, however, Riley walked two, allowed a single to load the bases and then walked in a run. His day was done, and after two more walks, a sacrifice fly and a single, Northeastern had scored five runs on only two hits to take a 5-3 lead.
The UConn bats kept quiet, but the Northeastern offense struck for three more in the seventh, again using walks to their advantage. UConn's pitchers struggled with control, walking seven as a staff, but they tended to come in bunches.
In the eighth, UConn made it a game. They sent all nine men to the plate, scoring three runs on a Bryan Daniello home run. The Huskies proceeded to load the bases with two outs, putting the tying run on second base, but Jack Sundberg grounded out to end the threat.
Pat Ruotolo came on with two outs in the eighth with two on and kept his slate clean heading into the ninth, where the UConn bats came through for the win.
The first two batters were dismissed, but with their backs against the wall, the Huskies came through to take the lead. DeRoche-Duffin went deep again for his second home run of the day to bring them within one. Then Byran Daniello worked a walk and John Toppa singled, putting runners on first and second for freshman catcher Zac Susi. He took the first pitch he saw over the left fielder's head, bringing both runs around and putting UConn ahead.
"I was really looking to hop on something early in the count and drive the ball into the outfield to score Bryan [Daniello] and tie the game," Susi said. "I got the pitch I wanted and drove it over the outfielder's head to score Toppa."
In the bottom half of the inning, Pat Ruotolo struck out the side to complete the win.
Coach Jim Penders was pleased with the fight this team showed.
"We've had some crazy games here over the years, he said. "We had two freshmen in big spots ready to hit and not afraid of the moment."
UConn now holds a 26-22 overall record. Their next game is on Friday against UCF at J.O Christian Field. First pitch is at 1 p.m.