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AAC Baseball Tournament: Four RBI from Toppa Drives UConn Past Memphis, 6-2

Freshman outfielder John Toppa drove in four as Husky ace Anthony Kay pitched a complete game in UConn's opening game victory over Memphis.

Coach Penders addresses his team after the win
Coach Penders addresses his team after the win
Collin Sherwin

UConn Baseball entered Wednesday's contest with Memphis having won their previous nine games. Anthony Kay got the start in the opening game of the AAC Tournament as the Huskies looked to extend the streak to ten. Kay rose to the occasion and helped UConn to a 6-2 victory as the Huskies advance to the winner's bracket.

Memphis got on the board first in the second inning on a Jake Overbey RBI single with two outs. It would be the only run produced from either squad in the first three innings of play.

Recently-named AAC Baseball Player of the Year Joe DeRoche-Duffin showed why he earned the honor in the top of the third. With a runner on first, Duff made a Sportscenter Top 10-worthy diving catch on a foul ball pop fly hit into the bleachers. After crashing into the wall on the play, DeRoche-Duffin doubled up the Memphis runner at first who was attempting to tag and reach second.

Still a 1-0 ballgame in the fourth, the Huskies had men on second and third with John Toppa at the dish. The freshman sent a single into right field to score DeRoche-Duffin and Daniello. Toppa advanced to second on the play during the throw from right field and then was able to score after the throw went out of play. The Huskies led 3-1 after four.

UConn found itself in a prime position to do damage again in the sixth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Willy Yahn was able to reach home from third on a wild pitch to make it 4-1. John Toppa followed the run with another two-RBI single into right to extend the UConn lead to five in a 6-1 contest. Toppa finished the day with a remarkable four runs batted in.

With plenty of run support to work with, Kay continued to dominate. The junior ace closed out the game to earn the win and advance to 8-2 on the season in his complete game effort. He finished with six strikeouts to extend his program-record lead in total strikeouts to 255. The UConn pitching staff has now reached 504 strikeouts on the 2016 campaign, also a program record.

Kay ended up letting up a final run in the eighth following a leadoff double, but that was all the Tigers were able to get as UConn went on to win the game by the final score of 6-2.

"I was just trying to keep them off balance," Kay said of his start. "I knew they were going to get their singles, but when they got on base I wanted to bear down."

He allowed nine hits in his nine innings of work.

With the win, the Huskies make it ten straight victories (for the first time since the 2011 season) and improve to 34-22 on the season with a 14-9 conference record. UConn will face the USF Bulls in the winner's bracket tomorrow at 7 PM. The game can be streamed on the American Digital Network as Connecticut seeks its 11th straight victory.