MIAMI - The UConn baseball team scored four times in the final two innings to rally late, but suffered a 7-4 setback at Florida International on Sunday afternoon at FIU Baseball Stadium. The victory for the Panthers avoids a Husky sweep and improves FIU to 8-7 on the year, while UConn falls to 6-6 after taking two-of-three in the weekend set.
Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) went 1-for-3 with a walk in the contest, driving in two Connecticut runs with his first career home run in the eighth inning. Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) drove in two more with a double in the ninth inning as the Huskies attempted a late push. The Panthers scored two runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings, jumping out to a 6-0 lead they would not relent. FIU held a 12-6 advantage in hits and did not surrender a knock for the Huskies until the fifth inning.
Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) made the start for Connecticut and labored in five innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He was opposed by FIU's Chris Mourelle, who went 7.2 innings and gave up two runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the third, scoring a pair of runs on a throwing error during an attempted sacrifice bunt. FIU doubled its lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run home run from Edwin Rios that gave the Panthers a 4-0 advantage.
After Tabakman left prior to the bottom of the sixth inning, the Panthers picked up two more runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Ryan Radue (Appleton, Wis.) fired a clean bottom of the seventh for UConn, and the Huskies got on the board in the top of the eighth. Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) led off the inning with a single through the left side, before Hill blasted a two-run home run down the left field line. It marked the first career extra-base hit for the sophomore.
The Panthers tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single, before Siena's bases-loaded double in the ninth cut the FIU lead to 7-4. Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) came up as the tying run and put a charge into a drive to right-center, but FIU's Evan Holland laid out for a diving catch to seal the victory.
Up next, the Huskies are scheduled to begin midweek play against Sacred Heart on Tuesday, March 10 in Bridgeport.
- Aaron Hill hit his first career home run with a two-run blast in the eighth inning. It was the first extra-base hit of the sophomore's career
- Jordan Tabakman failed to reach the sixth inning in a start for the first time this year, marking only the third time in 2015 a UConn starting pitcher has not tossed at least six frames
- Ryan Radue made his fourth appearance of the season and has not allowed a run in 4.0 innings out of the bullpen
- Max McDowell caught two potential base stealers and is now 6-for-13 (46.1 percent) throwing out baserunners this year