HOUSTON -- The UConn baseball team rallied for a pair of late leads but ultimately fell, 5-4, in 10 innings to No. 19 Houston on Thursday night at Cougar Field. The Huskies drop to 33-21 on the year and 11-11 in The American with the setback, while the Cougars improve to 37-17 and 14-8 in league play.
Houston scored single runs in the second and fourth innings to build an early lead before a three-run double from Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) gave the Huskies the lead in the seventh inning. The Cougars tied it in the bottom of the ninth to force extras and eventually won the game with two runs in the bottom of the 10th.
In addition to Sundberg's three RBIs offensively, Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) each went 2-for-5 and Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) drove in a run in the 10th inning. The Huskies were out-hit 12-9 in the setback and commited the game's lone error.
Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) got the start for the Huskies and lasted seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He was opposed by Andrew Lantrip for the Cougars who fired 6.2 frames, surrendering three runs on six hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
Houston struck for the game's first run in the bottom of the second, taking a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single from Ashford Fulmer. After the Huskies stranded the bases loaded with one away in the top of the fourth, the Cougars grabbed another with an RBI triple in the bottom of the frame to go up 2-0.
The Huskies finally broke through in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs to take their first lead. Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) and Daniello set the table in the inning with back-to-back singles, before Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) drew a two-out walk to load the bases. On a 3-2 pitch during the next at-bat, Sundberg smacked a bases-clearing double to left field to put UConn up by a run.
Cross settled in after allowing a run in the fourth and retired nine in a row before a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh. Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.) relieved him in the bottom of the eighth and struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 frame during his first inning of work. After the Huskies lined into a double play with one away in the top of the ninth, the Cougars tied it up with a solo home run in the bottom of the frame.
Ruotolo bounced back from the home run to retire the next three Houston batters and send the game to extra innings. UConn re-took the lead in the top of the 10th, when Sundberg drew a leadoff walk and came home to score on McDowell's nation-leading 11th sacrifice fly that put the Huskies up 4-3. Again the Cougars were able to answer, tying it with an RBI double in the bottom of the 10th before a deflected single on the infield brought home the winning run.
The Huskies and Cougars continue their three-game series tomorrow night with a 7:30 p.m. start.
With a first inning strikeout, Carson Cross broke a tie with former teammate Anthony Marzi for sole possession of fourth in UConn history. Cross finished his outing with three strikeouts, giving him 220 in his career
Max McDowell's sacrifice fly was his 11th of the season. He came into the weekend leading the NCAA in that category