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Sloppy Sixth Inning Sinks UConn Baseball Against Hartford

The Huskies allowed five runs in the sixth en route to defeat.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Baseball saw its five-game winning streak end Wednesday at J.O. Christian Field as they suffered a 6-4 defeat at the hands of the Hartford Hawks in UConn’s home opener.

It was the latest first home game for the Huskies since 1994, when they also opened on this date.

“[Hartford] played a lot better than we did and they deserved to win,” head coach Jim Penders said after the game. “I didn’t have my team ready to go, that was on me.”

Ronnie Rossomando started on the mound for the Huskies, allowing one run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He struggled with control, walking three and striking out two.

“He had a tough outing today,” Penders said. “He wasn’t locating.”

Left fielder John Toppa (2-for-4), catcher Zac Susi (2-for-4) and third baseman Willy Yahn (2-for-5) had multi-hit outings, with Yahn and Susi getting RBI along with designated hitter Tyler Gnesda and second baseman Conor Moriarty.

UConn opened the scoring early, grabbing a first-inning run after three consecutive singles from Yahn, Susi and Gnesda.

The Hawks closed the gap in the third, aided by a defensive miscue from Susi. A walk followed by a stolen base by Jackson Olson put a runner on second and a pitch got away from Rossomando and Olson made it to third, Susi ran to his right to field it and throw out Olson but his throw got by Yahn and he scored standing up for a 1-1 tie.

The Huskies took a 3-1 lead in the fifth but could have had more as they stranded three baserunners. They would leave 10 on base in the game.

“We got three walks and a hit-by-pitch and only score two runs, that’s bad,” Penders said.

The Huskies quickly loaded the bases before Nathan Florence was lifted for John Mormile. He induced the ground ball against Susi, but center fielder Keith Krueger on third was quick enough to the plate to force the defense to take the out at first.

Two batters later, Moriarty walked to bring in Prato for the Huskies’ second run of the inning.

CJ Dandeneau provided 2 1/3 innings of relief for UConn, allowing just two baserunners, but once he left, Hartford took a lead in the sixth.

Jake Wallace did not record an out in relief of Dandeneau, allowing two hits, a walk, and a runner to reach on his own throwing error before Doug Domnarski came in to relieve him.

Domnarski allowed a walk and a pair of hits, but only one of the five runs Hartford scored were charged to him.

“A lot of things happened quickly early on in the inning and we weren’t prepared to calm ourselves down,” Yahn said.

In the bottom of the seventh, Yahn hit a solo home run, but the Huskies were unable to complete the comeback.

UConn (16-10) looks ahead to a weekend conference series with Memphis, with a 3 p.m. first pitch on Friday.