LYNCHBURG, Va. - Senior co-captain Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) smashed his second homerun of the season but the UConn baseball team fell, 8-5, to Liberty in the first game of a weekend series on Friday in Lynchburg, Va. The setback snapped the Huskies' four-game winning streak and dropped the team to 4-3 overall, while the Flames improve to 6-4.
Melley finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a double, homer, and four RBIs, while sophomore 3B Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) went 2-for-5 at the dish with a pair of runs scored.
Junior LHP Anthony Kay (1-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season after surrendering seven runs on eight hits over 5.0 innings. Carson Herndon (2-0) earned the victory out of the bullpen, tossing 4.2 innings of four-run ball.
For the seventh-straight game, UConn struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after junior DH Tyler Gnesda (Laguna Nigel, Calif.) tallied his team-leading 14th RBI with a bases-loaded groundout to third.
The Flames answered with a four-run third inning, stringing together five consecutive two-out hits to push ahead, 4-1.
Melley cut the Husky deficit to 4-3 in the top of the fifth, launching a two-run homer off the right field foul pole to plate fellow captain Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.), who opened the inning with a walk. For Melley, the homer marked his second of the season and extended his team-leading hitting streak to nine-straight.
Liberty pushed its advantage to four runs in the home half of the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits while taking advantage of two Husky miscues. The Flames tacked on a run in the seventh but sophomore RHP John Russell (Glastonbury, Conn.) limited the damage in his first Husky appearance, inducing a pop-out and stranding two runners with a strikeout.
The Huskies scratched back in the ninth, closing the deficit to 8-5 after a two-run Melley double but Thomas Simpson came on out of the bullpen and ended Connecticut threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
The two teams continue the three-game series on Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m.