Designated hitter Zac Susi increasing his reached-base streak to 42 games was the only bright spot for No. 22 UConn baseball as the USF Bulls took the Huskies to the woodshed in a 13-0, run-rule shortened first semifinal.
UConn starter Colby Dunlop danced around a second and third, two out jam in the first innings and got two outs to begin his second frame before things rapidly came undone for the freshman right-hander.
Dunlop walked No. 8 hitter Garrett Zech after going up 0-2 in the count and hit No. 9 hitter Tyler Dietrich with a pitch. A wild pitch moved each runner up 90 feet and when catcher Thad Phillips tried to throw out Zech taking third, the throw got away from third baseman Conor Moriarty, allowing a run to come across. A second run came home on an RBI single.
The Bulls had the first of two five-run innings in the third, starting with a Joe Genord two-run homer. Dunlop sandwiched a single with a pair of outs and induced a pop up from Zech that appeared to end the inning but shortstop Anthony Prato had trouble with the sun, allowing the frame to continue. Dietrich and leadoff hitter Coco Montes made the Huskies pay with a double each, extending the Bulls’ lead to 7-0.
Montes was the last batter that Dunlop faced and he allowed seven runs, only two of which were earned, in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up nine hits, walked one and struck out two.
Joe Simeone was Dunlop’s replacement and only surrendered a solo home run to Carson Ragsdale in the fifth. His 2 1/3 one-run innings righted the ship for the Huskies, but they were unable to solve USF starting pitcher Alec Wisely.
UConn had their chances, leaving two on in both the second and third, but Wisely worked out of the jams.
He delivered seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing five hits with zero walks. Wisely struck out nine batters and retired the final 12 batters he faced.
UConn reliever Dan Rajkowski began the sixth and walked the first two batters he faced, setting up a three-run shot by Chris Chatfield that sent the game over the run limit, though Dietrich would come through with a second two-run double before the inning was through.
UConn (34-19-1) and USF will play again at a time to be determined, with the winner headed to Sunday’s American Athletic Conference tournament final.