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UConn Baseball Ties Bryant, 9-9

The Huskies and Bulldogs played 4 hours and 20 minutes until the game was called.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball was down three runs to the Bryant Bulldogs going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Huskies tied it up and the lack of lights at J.O. Christian Field led to the game being called due to light in a 9-9 tie on Wednesday.

“I thought we swung it alright, the pitchers did well enough, we just kicked the ball around and we didn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” said left fielder John Toppa, who had four hits.

Joe Simeone got his first career start for the Huskies and was able to dance around trouble in the first, leaving the bases loaded, but he was not so lucky in the third, when Bryant scored four runs, including a three-run home run to left by Shane Kelly. After that, his day was over.

“[We told him] get us through three if you can,” head coach Jim Penders said. “We were hoping to steal some outs.”

From then on, the Huskies were trying to play catchup and were never quite able to get there until their last-ditch effort. Designated hitter Thad Phillips had a two-run single in the third, but UConn had the bases loaded with nobody out and they were unable to cash in for more than the pair.

The Bulldogs scored one in the top of the fifth to make it 5-3 after Toppa doubled home the first baseman Chris Winkel, but UConn tied it up in the bottom half of the frame with a pair of RBI singles, one each from center fielder Troy Stefanski and Winkel after right fielder Isaac Feldstein led off with a walk to make it 5-5.

However, a trio of errors to lead off the sixth, a pair of fielding errors from Winkel and a throwing error by catcher Zac Susi on a sacrifice bunt, led to three runs for the visitors and an 8-5 lead. UConn committed four errors on the day.

The Huskies responded to bring it to two, but Bryant added another in the top of the eighth before the home side flipped the switch and scored three.

Susi had the bases loaded with nobody down and sent a 0-2 fastball for a double into left field. Ryan Ward dove for it but couldn’t haul it in, clearing the bases.

The Huskies had an opportunity to take the lead, with a runner in scoring position and nobody out, but they could not take advantage.

“We didn’t cash in as much as we would have liked,” Toppa said.

UConn (17-10-1) resumes American Athletic Conference play on Friday at 7 p.m. on the road against No. 20 Wichita State.