STORRS, Conn. - Despite the second grand slam in as many weeks off the bat of senior OF Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.), the UConn baseball team dropped a pair of games to No. 24 East Carolina on Saturday, May 7 at J.O. Christian Field. The Huskies fell, 4-3, after resuming Friday's halted series opener before dropping an 11-9 decision in game two.
With the losses, UConn moves to 24-21 overall and 8-8 in league play, while the Pirates improve to 29-16-1 in the 2016 season.
Junior lefty Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) dazzled in his 12th start of the season on Friday, tossing six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, while ECU ace Evan Kruzynski allowed just four hits in 6.0 innings of work with eight punch-outs.
At the dish, freshman OF John Toppa (Portsmouth, R.I.) reached base three times, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, while senior SS Bryan Daniello went 1-for-3 with a bases-clearing double in the ninth.
East Carolina broke onto the scoreboard in the top of the eighth, plating two runs on one hit with one Husky error. The Pirates added two runs in the ninth to push their advantage to 4-0.
Connecticut nearly stormed all the way back in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with three-consecutive walks before Daniello roped a double into the gap in right center to bring the score to 4-3 before Pirate closer Joe Ingle racked up his 10th save of the season with three-straight strikeouts.
Sundberg finished 1-for-5 with a grand slam, three runs scored, and four RBIs in the setback, while sophomore 3B Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) collected two hits in five at-bats with four RBIs and a run scored.
The Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, plating three runs on three hits, including a two-run single off the bat of Jeff Nelson.
Connecticut answered with two runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Yahn. East Carolina added a run in the fifth before the Huskies grabbed their first lead of the series in the home half of the inning. After Zac Susi (Southington, Conn.), Connor Buckley (Stonington, Conn.) and Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) opened the frame with three-straight singles, Sundberg unloaded a grand slam over the short wall in right field to push the score to 6-4 in favor of the Huskies.
Turner Brown cut the Husky lead to 6-5 in the sixth with an RBI single before the Pirates scored five times on three hits, two hit batters, and a walk in the seventh to move ahead, 10-6.
Yahn continued his hot afternoon with a two-run double in the home half of the seventh, plating Buckley and Hill. Two batters later, senior OF Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) rifled a double down line in right, scoring Yahn and cutting the deficit to 10-9.
The teams conclude the three-game series on Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. first pitch. Fans can keep up with the team and all weather-related updates by following @UConnBaseball on Twitter.
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