After suffering a shocking loss to Hartford, the UConn baseball team rebounded by taking two of three games in an American Athletic Conference series against No. 12 UCF to improve to 22-13 on the season and 5-4 in the American.
UConn took the first game of the series on yet another quality start from Carson Cross. The senior right-hander tossed seven innings, scattering eight hits and allowing only one earned run while striking out six. Bryan Daniello and Jon Testani combined for four of the Huskies’ six RBI on the night to power UConn past the Knights.
Daniello’s two-out, two RBI triple helped the Huskies get out to an early 3-0 lead, and Testani’s two-out single up the middle extended UConn’s lead to 6-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Bobby Melley and Max McDowell knocked in the other two UConn runs.
After Cross, Nico Darras surrendered three runs before Patrick Ruotolo entered with four outs left and proceeded to strike them all out to secure Cross’ seventh win of the season.
The victory was Cross’ 19th for his career, good enough for sixth all-time in UConn history. Over his last five starts, Cross has gone 5-0 with a 0.80 ERA while striking out 53 batters.
Not to be outdone, Anthony Kay turned in a stellar performance of his own, going the distance and striking out nine while walking one for his fifth win of the season. The left-hander surrendered only one earned run, lowering his season ERA to 1.01, the lowest amongst UConn starters.
The Huskies pounded out 17 hits en route to a 15-1 victory over the Knights to clinch the series win. McDowell and Daniello each homered while Vinny Siena notched his team-high 16th multi-hit game. McDowell finished the day with three RBIs, and leads the team with six home runs on the year. Siena has reached base in 25 straight games, while freshman Willy Yahn posted his ninth multi-hit game in just his 18th career start.
UCF got the best of the Huskies in the final game of the series, defeating UConn 5-1 to prevent the series sweep. After the Huskies got out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Melley, the Knights tagged Jordan Tabakman for five runs off 11 hits in just 3.1 innings to take a 5-1 lead. Devin Over, Trevor Holmes, and Max Slade combined to throw 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, but Zach Rodgers held the Huskies’ bats at bay, going the distance and striking out seven for his sixth win of the year.
After taking two of three from UCF, the Huskies are now 4-2 against top-25 teams this season. The two wins against the No. 12 Knights will likely have the Huskies receiving votes or possibly a ranking in the top 25 when it is released on Monday.
UConn returns to action with a midweek road game Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against Fairfield.