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UConn baseball tops Cincinnati on passed ball

Conor Moriarty scored the game-winning run after working a walk to begin the ninth.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In an affair that was the complete opposite of Friday night, UConn baseball evened their series with Cincinnati, 7-6 on Saturday.

The Huskies got eight innings of one-run ball from their bullpen as Colby Dunlop lasted just one-plus innings.

The Huskies did not score a run in the series opener but jumped out early in the first on center fielder Troy Stefanski’s line drive that just barely got over the left field fence. Shortstop Anthony Prato and right fielder Isaac Feldstein reached behind him with singles and first baseman Chris Winkel drove them home as part of his 2-for-4 day.

Dunlop took a 3-0 lead to the mound but was unable to do anything with it, coughing up four runs, in no small part due to three consecutive walks to load the bases. AJ Bumpass delivered a pair of them home before Cole Murphy had a two-RBI double of his own. Just like that, Cincinnati had a 4-3 lead after one inning.

Second baseman Michael Woodworth reached third when Treg Haberkorn couldn’t haul in his fly ball in center and scored on left fielder John Toppa’s sacrifice fly to tie it. However, the Bearcats continued to hammer Dunlop.

Haberkorn drilled a triple off the right field wall and that would spell the end for the freshman, as he would get only three outs. Joey Thomas drove him on on a sacrifice fly as Joe Simeone would come in and pitch two innings of one run ball in relief. He allowed only a Connor McVey home run in the third.

That home run came before catcher Thad Phillips came through with an RBI double to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the third.

From there, relief pitching took over. AJ Kullman entered to begin the fourth for Cincinnati and carried the home side through the middle innings, allowing just three hits and on unearned run, which came on a sacrifice fly by Winkel in the fifth.

For the Huskies, Dan Rajkowski, CJ Dandeneau and Jake Wallace, who earned the win, combined to allow just one hit and one walk over the final six innings to slam the door, keep the game at 6-6 and give UConn the chance to even the series.

Once Kullman left, the Huskies were able to strike again. Third baseman Conor Moriarty, who broke his 0-for-24 streak with a single in the sixth, walked on 10 pitched to lead off the ninth and took the extra base on Stefanski’s single to put runners on the corners. Moriarty crossed the plate on a passed ball to break the tie.

UConn (21-12-1, 6-5) and Cincinnati will finish their series on Sunday at 1 p.m. UConn’s starter is to be announced.