GREENVILLE, N.C. -- The UConn baseball team scored five times in the first two innings to back a strong outing from Carson Cross in a 13-2 victory over East Carolina on Friday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The contest, the first of a three-game weekend set, improved the Huskies to 29-18 on the year and 8-8 in the American Athletic Conference, while the Pirates fall to 29-18 and 9-7 in league play.
UConn took a 5-0 lead early and after the Pirates scored twice in the second, scored the final eight runs of the contest to put game one away. UConn out-hit ECU by a 19-5 margin and committed one error compared to four by the Pirates.
Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) fired eight innings of two-run ball to improve to 9-2 on the season. The 6'6 righty allowed five hits and walked two to go along with nine strikeouts, pushing him to 100 punch-outs on the season. He became the fourth player in program history to record a 100-strikeout season. Cross was opposed by Evan Kruczynski for East Carolina who lasted 3.2 innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) led UConn with a big day at the dish, going 4-for-6 with three doubles and four RBIs. Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) had three hits and drove in three while Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) and Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) both recorded three-hit days. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) and Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) combined to score seven times from the top two spots in the UConn order.
UConn jumped out fast, scoring five runs in the first two frames. Davey delivered the big hit in the top of the first with a two-run double to the left-center field gap. In the second, Sundberg came through with a two-out RBI single before Melley blasted a two-run double off the left field wall to put the Huskies up 5-0.
The Pirates battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, loading the bases before a two-run single from Travis Watkins cut the lead to three. UConn responded with another two-spot in the top of the fourth, as Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Yahn came through with two-out RBI singles to stretch the lead to 7-2.
Cross settled in over the middle innings, not allowing a hit between the third and the seventh before the Huskies gave him four more runs in the top of the eighth. Melley and Yahn both came up with RBI singles in the frame, and Davey's third double of the day also drove in a run in an inning that gave UConn an 11-2 lead.
The Huskies put two more up in the top of the ninth, using a run-scoring error and an RBI single from Davey to go up 13-2. Sam Nepiarsky (Orange, Conn.) relieved Cross for the ninth and fired a perfect inning to close out the series-opening victory.
The Huskies and Pirates continue their weekend series tomorrow with a 4 p.m. start in Greenville.
Carson Cross recorded his 100th strikeout of the season in the seventh inning, becoming the fourth player in program history with 100 punch-outs in a season. The others are Matt Barnes (2011), Charles Nagy (1988) and Colin McLaughlin (1979).
Blake Davey's three doubles give him 17 on the year, placing him in a tie for first in The American. It marked the second time this season Davey has doubled three times in a game (William & Mary, 3/18)
All nine Huskies in the starting lineup had at least one hit by the fourth inning
Willy Yahn recorded his 15th multi-hit game and 13th two-out RBI in his 30th start of the year