STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team clubbed a season-high four home runs in a 12-6 victory over Cincinnati on Friday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. The contest was the first of a three-game American Athletic Conference set and improved the Huskies to 30-20 on the year and 9-10 in league play, while the Bearcats drop to 15-33 and 6-13 in conference action.
UConn fell behind 3-0 early but battled back to tie in the third and went ahead for good with a four-run sixth inning. With the win, the Huskies have won at least 30 games in nine of 12 seasons under head coach Jim Penders.
The Huskies picked up long balls from Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.), Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.), Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) and Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) to power their way to 12 runs on 15 hits. Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair and Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) also had two hits and two driven in.
On the mound, Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) notched his 10th win of the season after 6.1 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Ryan Atkinson took the ball for Cincinnati and lasted three-plus, surrendering five runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
The Bearcats jumped ahead early, loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first and pushing three runs across with a pair of sacrifice flies and a run-scoring error. The Huskies answered to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the opening inning, with Davey drawing a bases-loaded RBI walk before a McDowell sacrifice fly.
Cincinnati grabbed another run in the top of the second, scoring on another error to go up two. The Huskies struck back to tie with a pair of runs in the top of the third. McDowell singled up the middle to plate Davey, and after being caught on the basepaths DeRoche-Duffin launched a mammoth home run to left to the contest at four.
UConn took its first lead in the fourth with a solo shot from Testani, but UC answered back to tie it at five in the fifth. The Huskies finally broke through for good in the sixth, putting up a four-spot to go ahead by a score of 9-5. After two hits and a walk loaded the bases, Siena and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) each came up with sacrifice flies push two across. A batter after Melley, Davey cracked a two-run shot over the right field wall to stretch the lead to four.
Cincinnati chased Cross and got another run with an RBI double in the seventh, before a two-run shot from Yahn and an RBI single from Siena gave the Huskies three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Sam Nepiarsky (Orange, Conn.) entered out of the pen for the final two innings for UConn and was dominant, allowing only one baserunner with five strikeouts in a pair of scoreless innings to close out the win.
The Huskies and Bearcats continue their weekend series with a 1 p.m. start tomorrow afternoon in Storrs.
UConn has won at least 30 games in nine of 12 seasons under head coach Jim Penders
Carson Cross recorded his 10th win and is fourth in UConn history with 22 career victories
Vinny Siena recorded his 23rd multi-hit game and 15 multi-RBI performances
UConn's four home runs marked a season-high and most in a game since hitting four at Central Connecticut on April 27, 2011. UConn last went deep four times at J.O. Christian Field on May 21, 2010 against Seton Hall
Joe DeRoche-Duffin took over the team-lead with his eighth home run of the season