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No. 24 UConn Baseball Loses Game 2 to Tulane

The Huskies’ winning streak ends as they look ahead to a rubber match on Sunday with the Green Wave.

One bad pitch by UConn’s Dan Rajkowski (45) was one factor in the loss to Tulane on Saturday.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

No. 24 UConn baseball saw its four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday as Tulane evened the team’s three-game series with a 7-1 win.

“We have a chance to win two out of three this weekend with a win tomorrow,” head coach Jim Penders said. “We just have to regroup.”

Tulane’s Keagan Gillies pitched a complete game, allowing only one run on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one.

His Husky counterpart, Chase Gardner, had a strong first three innings, allowing only a walk with four strikeouts mixed in.

“He just didn’t have his command,” Penders said. “Coach Mac went out there and he said, ‘I’m trying, I’m giving you all I got. I feel like I haven’t pitched in two weeks.’”

He missed his start last weekend after he was hit by a line drive against Wichita State.

His control issues got to him in the fourth. He hit Jonathon Artigues with a pitch. Artigues reached third after an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch. He crossed the plate on a deep sacrifice fly to Isaac Feldstein in right field.

In the fifth, Gardner loaded the bases on a pair of hit batters and a walk to lead off the fifth. He handed the ball off to Dan Rajkowski, who got a pair of strikeouts but couldn’t quite get out of the jam, as Grant Witherspoon took the redshirt junior deep to left field for a grand slam to make it a 5-0 Tulane lead.

Gardner did not allow a hit but did surrender four runs in four-plus innings.

Meanwhile, the UConn bats were quiet despite hitting the ball hard early. Only designated hitter Anthony Nucerino and Feldstein were able to find grass for a single each through five innings.

That would change in the sixth, as center fielder Troy Stefanski, catcher Zac Susi, and Feldstein each hit the ball hard the third time through the order with one out. Susi’s single up the middle drove in a run and raised his streak of reaching base to 27 games. Feldstein’s double put two runners in scoring position with one out, but two pop outs ended the threat.

“Someone has to get that runner in from third with less than one out. They did that today and we didn’t,” Penders said.

Working into the later innings, Gillies continued to shut down the UConn bats, retiring 11 of the final 13 batters he faced.

UConn (24-13-1, 8-6) and Tulane play the series-deciding game at J.O. Christian Field on Sunday at 11 a.m. UConn’s starting pitcher is Jeff Kersten.