It came down to the ninth inning, but UConn emerged victorious in Friday night’s contest against UC Davis, 7-4.
Shortstop Anthony Prato (3-for-5) had three RBI and knocked two doubles while Willy Yahn hit 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI in his season debut after missing the first 10 games with a broken hand.
The Huskies started off strong, scraping across a run in each of the first two innings to take an early 2-0 lead.
Tim Cate has missed his last two starts due to a shoulder injury sustained against Texas. Head coach Jim Penders has employed the unique strategy of making Friday a bullpen game as opposed to Sunday.
Left-handed starter PJ Poulin hit a batter and allowed three hits in the third. Combined with a wild pitch and an error by first baseman Tyler Gnesda, UC Davis took a 3-2 lead after three full innings.
The five UConn pitchers held the Aggies to one run after that. Each team added a run in the fifth.
The Aggies had a baserunner in every inning, but they had trouble taking advantage of their 12 hits, as 10 of them were singles.
UConn tied the game up in the seventh after a lead-off double by third baseman Conor Moriarty (3-for-3), who was brought home a couple batters later by Prato.
On the back of four hits, UConn added three runs in the ninth to take the win.
Designated hitter John Toppa (1-for-3) led off with a single and scored on Moriarty’s second double of the night, which served as the go-ahead run. Prato doubled to plate Moriarty and he was brought in by Yahn in the next at-bat to complete the offensive outburst and secure the victory.
UC Davis scored three first-inning runs, but UConn overcame the early deficit in a 9-6 win over the Aggies on Saturday afternoon.
Wills Montgomerie (4-0) had a rough first inning but rebounded well, finishing with four runs allowed over seven innings. He struck out 10 batters, walked two, hit a batter and gave up six hits.
The Huskies scored nine runs but they had some help—it was not exactly an offensive explosion. Three unearned runs crossed the plate courtesy of five Aggie errors. UConn batters were hit by two pitches, walked five times and had just eight hits, with only first baseman Tyler Gnesda (2-for-5) having multiple.
The Husky pitching staff held UC Davis in check after the first inning for most of the remainder of the afternoon.
Jacob Thomas led the bottom of the first off with a hit-by-pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Anderson singled him home before a two-run home run by Cameron Olson gave the Aggies a quick 3-0 lead.
UConn responded in the following half inning to tie things up.
Right fielder Isaac Feldstein led off with a double while designated hitter John Toppa and third baseman Conor Moriarty followed it up with back-to-back walks.
The bases were loaded for catcher Alex LeFevre and he cleared them with a double to make it 3-3.
UConn scored an unearned run in the third, fourth and sixth to take a 6-3 lead. UC Davis added a run of its own in the sixth, but it was the closest they would get.
In the top half of the seventh, the Huskies put the game away with another bases-clearing double, this time off the bat of center fielder Keith Krueger.
Toppa and Moriarty had back-to-back, two-out singles followed by pinch-hitter Zac Susi’s walk to set the stage for Krueger to make it a 9-4 game.
UC Davis scored two in the eighth, but failed to complete the comeback.
The Huskies could not complete the sweep on Sunday against UC Davis, losing 8-7.
Mistakes by the pitching staff hurt UConn deeply, as they walked five, hit a batter, and had four wild pitches and a balk, giving the Aggies free bases all afternoon.
UConn came back with a strong offensive inning of its own after falling down 3-1 through the first two innings, scoring four runs in the top of the third to regain the lead.
After a hit-and-run play with center fielder Keith Krueger and Anthony Prato, the Huskies had runners on the corners with one out for third baseman Willy Yahn. He singled to bring home Krueger and the two were plated by catcher Zac Susi.
After a wild pitch, Susi crossed home on a ground out from Feldstein and it was 5-3 UConn after the Husky half of the third.
After getting a run back in the bottom of the fifth, UC Davis gave it right back to UConn in the top of the sixth on a single from second baseman Aaron Hill, who brought in Feldstein.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Aggies had the bases loaded with no one out, but Jake Wallace held strong, allowing just one run.
He could not escape again in the seventh when the Aggies tied it up on a Ryan Anderson single after a lead-off double from Mason Novak.
They added another in the seventh. Ryan Hooper led off with a walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice before taking third on a wild pitch by Ryan Radue. A bunt by Novak brought home the go-ahead run.
UConn was able to tie it into the ninth with some small ball and the game would come down to the bottom of the inning.
The Aggies did not record a hit, but after a walk, a balk and a wild pitch, Brad Pluschkell got the ball deep enough for a sacrifice fly to bring in the game-winning run and get the Aggies one game in the series.
UConn (8-5) will play against Santa Clara their next time out, continuing their West Coast swing. First pitch on Tuesday is at 9 p.m. Eastern.