STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team (26-15) improved to 8-1 against New England neighbors with a 13-2 victory over Massachsuetts (11-15) on Tuesday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. The victory was UConn's ninth game this year scoring in double figures.
The Minutemen jumped out to a 1-0 lead early before the Huskies scored 13 of the game's next 14 runs. UConn held a 19-5 advantage in hits in the contest, finishing one shy of a season-high.
Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) led a white-hot 19-hit attack with a 4-for-4 day, driving in four and scoring three times along with his first home run of the season. Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) also had four hits and a home run, driving in three. Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) went 2-for-4 and scored four runs while Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) had three hits and a stolen base.
Andrew Zapata (Staten Island, Conn.) made the start for UConn and improved to 4-0 on the season, firing seven two-run innings and allowing five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Tim Cassidy was tagged with the loss for UMass after five-plus on the mound, allowing 11 runs on 12 hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Minutemen drew first blood with a run in the top of the first, sandwiching two-out singles around a wild pitch to take a 1-0 lead. The Huskies broke through in the bottom of the third, scoring three times thanks to RBI singles from Melley and McDowell wrapped around an RBI double from Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.).
UMass pulled back within a run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth, but the Huskies put up another crooked number in the bottom half of the inning. Sundberg started the scoring with an RBI single, and two batters later Melley cranked a three-run home run over the right field fence to put the Huskies up 7-2. McDowell followed Melley with a long ball of his own in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot for his team-high seventh of the year.
Siena got the Huskies into double digits with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth, and an RBI groundout for McDowell and a sacrifice fly for Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) made it 12-2 later in the frame. Siena came across for the 13th Husky run when he doubled before a Connor Buckley (Stonington, Conn.) RBI two-bagger in the eighth.
Zapata exited after a clean seventh, and Samuel Nepiarsky (Orange, Conn.) and Callahan Brown (Jupiter, Fla.) combined for a pair of scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth frames to close out the contest.
Up next, UConn continues its nine-game home stand and hosts UMass Lowell on Wednesday in a game moved up to 2 p.m. The meeting will mark the first contest between the Huskies and River Hawks since 1940.
UConn is now 88-71-3 all-time against Massachusetts
UConn has scored at least seven runs in eight of its nine games against New England neighbors this year and has hit double-figures in four of those contests
Vinny Siena notched his team-high 19th multi-hit games, Max McDowell and Jack Sundberg both recorded their 17th
Bobby Melley hit his first home run of 2015 after launching four as a sophomore last season
McDowell and Melley both recorded four-hit days, the first time UConn has had two four-hit performances in the same game this season
Callahan Brown and Samuel Nepiarsky have combined for eight shutout innings in seven cumulative appearances, striking out 11 against one walk