STORRS, Conn. - Junior LHP Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) pitched eight strong innings and senior OF Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) blasted his 15th home run of the season as the UConn baseball team rallied for a 4-3 victory over UCF on Friday at J.O. Christian Field in the opener of a three-game series. With the win, Connecticut moves to 27-22 overall and 9-9 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Knights drop to 25-26.
Connecticut has won four of its last five games against the Knights and owns a 6-4 all-time record against their Florida-based foes in a series dating back to 2013.
Kay (6-2) picked up his sixth victory, going 8.0 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. The Husky ace moved closer to the program's all-time strikeout lead and now stands just five punch-outs shy of leader Matt Barnes (247).
At the plate, DeRoche-Duffin finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and his conference-leading 15th homer of the year. The Husky outfielder ranks eighth in single-season program history with 15 round trippers. Senior SS Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) notched two hits and scored a run, while freshman OF John Toppa (Portsmouth, R.I.) went 2-for-4 in the victory.
UCF jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second after Sam Tolleson and Eli Putnam collected back-to-back solo home runs.
The Huskies cut into the Knights' lead in the sixth after Sundberg sent his team-leading third triple of the season into the gap in left and came around to score on an RBI groundout off the bat of Yahn. UCF tacked on a run half an inning later, scoring on a throwing error.
Connecticut scratched back with a run in the home half of the seventh after stringing together four-consecutive singles. With the bases loaded, Gnesda dropped a single into left field to plate Daniello.
The Huskies moved ahead for good in the eighth when DeRoche-Duffin launched a two-run, two-out homer to straight-away centerfield.
The teams continue the three-game set on Saturday, May 14 with a 1 p.m. first pitch time.