A four run first inning sunk UConn (24-14, 5-5) in the first game of their weekend series against East Carolina, 7-3.
Carson Cross got the start Friday afternoon. He labored through eight innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits with six strikeouts. In the first inning, he surrendered five consecutive hits with two outs. Combined with two errors in the infield, four Pirates crossed the plate, giving them a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
“We took a chance and it burned us,” coach Jim Penders said. “We had some brain cramps… There were a lot of things today that we didn’t do a great job concentrating on.”
Evan Kruczynski got the start for ECU. He threw six innings of three-run ball, allowing eight hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.
The Huskies scored their first run an inning later, when Joe DeRoche-Duffin followed a Bobby Melley single with an RBI double down the right field line to cut the lead to three.
The Huskies tried to get back into the game several times, but were felled by bad luck. With one out and two men on in the fifth inning, Vinny Siena hit a hard line drive right at the second baseman that turned into an easy double play.
DeRoche-Duffin drove in another run in the fourth, following a single and a walk with an RBI groundout. The Pirates answered the top of the fifth with a sac fly. They extended the lead to 6-2 with an RBI single in the sixth.
Fundamentally, UConn struggled. Two first inning errors got Cross off to a bad start. On the basepaths, Bryan Daniello got picked off trying to steal third in the second inning for the final out.
UConn got a run back in the sixth when Kruczynski balked with the bases loaded. The Pirates scored an unearned run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, before ECU’s Nick Durazo completed his third scoreless inning of relief to lock down his second save.
The series continues tomorrow afternoon when Anthony Kay takes the ball.
“He was very good last time out…He threw a good bullpen yesterday. I’m always excited to give him the ball, he’s got really good stuff. (ECU) has a really good approach…It’s going to take a really good effort from Anthony, and a much better effort from our defense, if we’re going to get a win tomorrow,” Penders said.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at J.O. Christian Field.