UConn baseball's rough weekend continued on Saturday. The Huskies dropped their second game against Southern Mississippi, 7-6, and by extension the series. Missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Huskies in a game they could have won.
Over the first few innings, UConn seemed to have Southern Miss starter Ethridge figured out, making hard contact early and often. Zach Bushling had a leadoff hit to start the game and ended up coming around to score off a Reggie Crawford single.
The Huskies struck again in the third inning with four straight hits by Christian Fedko, Crawford, David Langer, and Kyler Fedko, to make it 3-0. But they also stranded two runners on base — a theme of the night for the Huskies. They left 12 runners on base and seven in scoring position. Scoring six runs on 14 hits is seriously impressive, although not for the right reasons.
“We have to step up in the moment, we’re not getting enough of our guys being dudes,” head coach Jim Penders said.
Meanwhile, UConn pitcher Joe Simeone had a decent first few innings in his second start of the year. He didn't allow a hit for the first two innings, but that changed in the third. The junior gave up a leadoff double to the nine-hitter Dickinson, retired the next two batters, but walked designated hitter Charlie Fischer on a questionable 3-2 call. First baseman Chris Sargent was up next, and sent a hanging curve to the heavens that tied the game up, 3-3.
Southern Miss took the lead in the next inning with two straight doubles and an error from Simeone to add a pair of runs and make it 5-3. The Golden Eagles struck again in the seventh with a double from Fischer and Sargent's second homer of the night to make it 7-3.
UConn gave a brave comeback effort in the top of the eighth. Ciaran Devenney started off the inning with a single for his second of the night, then Bushling and Stock got on base with a walk and a hit-by-pitch respectively.
Patrick Winkel came up in the clutch with a single to left field as the Southern Miss outfielders were playing deep. The single scored two and sent Stock to third, who made his way home on a Reggie Crawford RBI grounder. Unfortunately, the UConn run ended there.
The Huskies’ offense certainly wasn't awful on the day. Five players (Bushling, Christian Fedko, Langer, Crawford and Devenney) had multi-hit games, but with the sheer number of players left on base, this loss could’ve gone another way and kept hope alive for UConn in this series.
Other positives for the Huskies include underclassmen pitchers Andrew Marrero and Pat Gallagher. Gallagher entered in the fourth inning in long relief and worked well with traffic on the base paths, and Marrero showcased his electric stuff in a 1.1 inning outing where no Southern Miss player reached base.