CINCINNATI – Down 2-0 heading into the ninth, the UConn baseball team battled back to force extra innings before falling to Cincinnati, 3-2, in 13 innings on Friday night at Marge Schott Stadium in the first game of a three-game series. With the loss, Connecticut drops to 13-14 overall and 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Bearcats move to 15-15 in 2016.
Junior LHP Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) took the ball for his team-leading eighth start of the season and lasted 6.0 innings, allowing just one run on four hits with six strikeouts. With his six-punchout performance, Kay moved into a tie with Tom Germano (1974-77) for eighth on the program’s all-time strikeout list (206). The Husky bullpen shined, allowing just two runs (one earned) over six-plus innings.
At the plate, senior OF Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) picked up his first three-hit game of the 2016 season, finishing 3-for-6 with an RBI, while senior co-captain Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) reached base four times via walks and scored a run in the setback.
Neither team was able to break onto the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth when outfielder Treg Haberkorn blasted a solo shot over the fence in right to give the Bearcats a 1-0 advantage. Cincinnati added an insurance run in the eighth, scoring on a close play at the plate on a wild pitch.
UConn drew even in the top of the ninth, plating two runs on a pair of hits. After back-to-back walk to Connor Buckley (Stonington, Conn.) and Sundberg, sophomore infielder Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) reached on a bunt base hit. Senior 1B Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) knocked in the Huskies’ first run with an RBI groundout to first before DeRoche-Duffin lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly to right field.
The Bearcats scored the game winner in the bottom half of the 13th, loading the bases with no one out before plating the winning-run on an error.
Connecticut threatened in both the first and second innings, loading the bases in the second but a diving play by rightfielder Vince Augustine robbed Yahn of extra bases.
Ruotolo worked out a bases-loaded no-out jam in the bottom of the 11th with a strikeout, pop-up, and flyout.
The Huskies move to 17-10 all-time against Cincinnati in a series dating back to the 2006 campaign.
The programs continue the weekend series on Saturday, April 9 with a 6 p.m. ET tilt. Fans can keep up with the team by following @UConnBaseball on Twitter.