Feb. 16, 2014
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. – Nico Darras (Laguna Beach, Calif.) collected two hits and his first RBI in a Connecticut uniform, but the UConn baseball team fell, 7-3, to Auburn on Sunday afternoon at North County Park. The contest was UConn’s final game in the 2014 Snowbird Classic. With the loss, the Huskies fall to 0-3 on the season while the Tigers move to 2-1.
Senior lefty Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) got the nod for the Huskies, tossing 3.2 innings, surrendering seven hits, two earned runs, two walks and striking out two Auburn batters. Freshman Keegan Thompson made his first collegiate start for Auburn and pitched 5.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out nine to earn the win.
Auburn opened up the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning with a four-run frame backed by four Tiger hits and a costly UConn error. Ryan Tella reached on an infield single and stole second, coming around to score on a fielder’s choice by Daniel Robert. Damek Tomscha followed up with an RBI single to right field to score Thompson to extend the Auburn lead to 2-0.
The Tigers scratched across another run on a squeeze play to Ward and collected their final run of the inning when Blake Austin plated Tomscha with a single into centerfield.
Ward (0-1) was replaced by Max Slade (Cheshire, Conn.) with two outs and runners at the corners in the fourth inning.
The Huskies cut into the Auburn lead in the fifth inning when Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) got UConn’s first hit of the afternoon with a double down the right field line. With Griffin Garabedian (Hamden, Conn.) at the plate, Daniello advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored moments later when Garabedian reached on an infield single to first base. The run-scoring play ended UConn’s 21-inning scoreless streak.
UConn pushed across another run in the top of the sixth when Darras doubled to left field, advanced to third and scored on an RBI infield single to shortstop by Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.). For Davey, it marked his first hit in a Connecticut uniform after transferring from Cypress College.
Auburn cushioned its lead in the home half of the sixth inning, taking advantage of a fielding error by Daniello. Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.) came on to replace Slade and with the bases loaded and two outs and gave up a bloop single to Tomscha, scoring two Tigers and tipping the scoreboard to a 6-2 Auburn advantage. In the seventh, Dan Glevenyak lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field to extend the Auburn lead to 7-2.
The Huskies drew closer in the eighth when Darras shot a single into right center field, plating Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) who walked to open the inning.
Slade pitched effectively in 1.2 innings, allowing just one base runner. Ruotolo finished his first UConn appearance with a line of 1.2 innings, two hits, three runs (one earned), and four walks.
Andrew Zapata (Staten Island, N.Y.) worked a scoreless eighth inning in his second collegiate appearance.
The Huskies return to the diamond on Friday, Feb. 21 when they take on Wichita State in Conway, S.C. as part of the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach Tournament.
- Nico Darras collected his first career multi-hit game, the first for a UConn player this season. He also posted his first RBI as a Husky.
- Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) extended his hitting streak to eight games, dating back to last season. Siena has also reached base in 14 consecutive contests.
- Griffin Garabedian secured his first hit as a Husky, also knocking in his first run.
- UConn committed five errors on the day and now has seven in three games this season. The Huskies averaged 1.38 miscues per game in 2013.
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