May 16, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn baseball team rallied to its last at bat before falling to UCF, 7-6, in the regular season finale on Friday afternoon at J.O. Christian Field. With the loss UConn finishes the regular season with a 26-29 record, including a 9-14 mark in The American Athletic Conference. The Huskies' seed in the upcoming Conference Championship has yet to be determined.
Prior to the contest UConn honored Anthony Marzi, Tom Verdi and Brian Ward for Senior Day. The trio has helped UConn to a pair of NCAA Tournaments during their four years in Storrs, along with a pair of conference titles and a trip to the 2011 Super Regionals.
Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) led the UConn offense in the setback, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) drove in a pair of runs. Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) also had a strong day at the dish, picking up a pair of hits and Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) reached base three times and scored a run.
Callahan Brown (Jupiter, Fla.) started for the Huskies and lasted 2.1 innings, as he was tagged for five runs on four hits with three walks. Ryan Meyer took the ball for the Knights and retired just one batter before an early hook, allowing four runs on two hits with two walks.
The Knights got on the board in the first, when Dylan Moore led off the game with a double to the right center field gap before he scored on a wild pitch. The Huskies responded quickly in their half of the frame, loading the bases before a McDowell walk tied the contest. With the bases still loaded, Daniello cracked a single to right center field that plated two runs and gave UConn a 3-1 lead.
A wild pitch stretched the Connecticut lead to three, before UCF got it back in the second with a Jordan Savinon home run. The Knights pulled even with a two-run single in the top of the third, chasing Brown (1-1) in favor of Max Slade (Cheshire, Conn.). He was greeted by a pair of RBI doubles to put the Knights on top 6-4, before finally escaping the four-run inning for UCF.
The scoring quieted over the next couple innings, before the Knights stretched their lead to 7-4 with another RBI double in the fifth. UConn answered with two runs in its half of the frame, with McDowell delivering an RBI double and Daniello a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 7-6.
Slade closed his season-high 3.2 innings of a work with a strikeout in a scoreless sixth, before David Mahoney (Colchester, Conn.) fired a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Devin Over (Windsor, Conn.) was next out of the pen and continued the strong bullpen pitching with two scoreless innings.
UConn threatened in the bottom of the ninth when it loaded the bases with one out, but Parker Thomas came on for UCF and induced a double play ball to pick up his first save of the season and the Knights held on.
Up next, the Huskies head to Clearwater, Fla. to participate in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship at Bright House Field. UConn returns to the site of its 2013 Big East title a year ago, with seeding and match-ups to be determined.
- The Huskies conclude the regular season at 26-29, and 9-14 in The American. UConn will be the 6th, 7th or 8th seed in the upcoming Conference Championship, depending on other league outcomes.
- Melley also recorded his 11th game of at least three hits.
- Max Slade's 3.2 innings pitched were a season-high
- Max McDowell is now hitting .413 (26-for-63) with runners in scoring position in 2014