STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team (24-14, 5-5) was felled by a four-run first inning and couldn't make its way back in a 7-3 setback to East Carolina (23-15, 5-5) on Friday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. The loss was the first contest of a three-game weekend American Athletic Conference series.
The Huskies were out-hit 10-8 in the contest and committed three errors as the Pirates used their big first inning to build an early lead they would not relent. Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) led UConn at the dish with a 2-for-4 day, driving in a pair of runs. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) went 2-for-5 and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) scored twice.
Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) took the ball for UConn and battled through eight innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Evan Kruczynski got the start for the pirates and tossed six innings of three-run ball, allowing eight hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.
The Pirates jumped out to an early lead, going up 4-0 after five-straight two-out singles and UConn's second error of the frame in the top of the first. The Huskies scored their first run an inning later, when DeRoche-Duffin followed a Melley single with an RBI double stung down the right field line to cut the lead to three.
DeRoche-Duffin brought another run home in the bottom of the fourth, following a single and a walk with an RBI groundout. The Pirates got one right back in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly and made it 6-2 with an RBI single in the sixth.
UConn picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth when Kruczynski balked with the bases loaded in his final inning of work. Cross battled for UConn into the eighth, striking out two in the top of the inning to cap his outing. The Pirates scored an unearned run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, before ECU's Nick Durazo completed his third scoreless inning of relief to lock down his second save.
The Huskies and Pirates continue their weekend series tomorrow afternoon for a 1 p.m. start J.O. Christian Field. Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) will take the ball for the Huskies.
Carson Cross has gone seven innings or more in eight of his 10 starts this season
Jack Sundberg recorded his 15th multi-hit games, but the Huskies dropped to 12-3 in those contests
Vinny Siena has reached base safely in 29-straight contests
Joe DeRoche-Duffin notched his fifth multi-RBI game
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