STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team dropped its first series since the opening weekend in an 8-6 setback to USF on Saturday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. The loss drops the Huskies to 19-11 on the year and 3-3 in The American, while the Bulls improve to 22-10-1 and 5-1 in league play.
The Huskies led 4-0 after the first four innings, before the Bulls chipped away and eventually tied the contest with two runs in the seventh. UConn re-took the lead with an RBI double from Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) in the bottom of the eighth, but USF rallied for four runs (three unearned) to go ahead 8-5 in the ninth. The Huskies got one across the board in their final time at bat but could not rally all the way back.
Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) each went 2-for-3 to lead the Huskies at the plate, as DeRoche-Duffin drove in two while Davey walked twice and scored two runs. Testani had a multi-hit game and Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) and Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) both went 1-for-3 with RBIs.
On the mound, Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) took the ball and battled through 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with two walks and a season-best six strikeouts. Ryan Valdes got the start for USF and lasted six, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
UConn used small ball to take an early lead in the second, with Davey and Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) singling before moving into a scoring position for a DeRoche-Duffin RBI groundout. The Huskies struck for three more in the bottom of the fourth, using an RBI double from Daniello, a DeRoche-Duffin sacrifice fly and an RBI knock for Yahn to take a 4-0 lead.
The Bulls got a run back in the fifth with an RBI single, then added another with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Tabakman was relieved after walking in a run in the bottom of the seventh, and Ryan Radue (Appleton, Wis.) got a fly ball and a pop up to keep it a 4-4 game.
DeRoche-Duffin led off the bottom of the eighth with a single up the middle, leading to Taylor Olmstead (Greenwich, Conn.) entering as a pinch runner. After a Yahn sacrifice, Testani doubled over the right fielder's head to plate Olmstead and UConn took a 5-4 lead to the ninth.
USF was able to rally for the second time in the series, scoring three unearned in the ninth after benefitting from a close play at second base that extended the inning. Down 8-5 in the bottom of the ninth, UConn loaded the bases and got a run in on a wild pitch before USF was able to end the contest with a fielder's choice.
Up next, the Huskies return to J.O. Christian for a midweek game against Northeastern, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. The contest originally scheduled for Monday against Hartford will now be played on Wednesday.
UConn is now 20-29 all-time against USF
Blake Davey is batting .458 with four doubles and eight RBIs over his last six games
Jordan Tabakman tied a career-high with six strikeouts
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