TAMPA, Fla. - Junior ace Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) fired seven innings of two-run ball and established a new program record in career strikeouts as the UConn baseball team opened a three-game series at USF with an 11-2 victory on Thursday at USF Baseball Stadium. The win extends the Huskies' season-best winning streak to seven games and moves the team to 31-22 overall and 12-9 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Bulls fall to 23-29 with the setback.
With seven punch-outs, Kay passed former Husky legend Matt Barnes ('11) on the program's all-time career leaders with 249 strikeouts and grabbed his team-leading seventh win of the year. The lefty scattered just four hits in 7.0 innings of work en route to his 20th career victory.
Sophomore 3B Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) picked up his eighth game with at least three hits this season, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored, while senior OF Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) blasted his conference-leading 17th HR and drove in three. In total, eight of the nine Husky starters recorded at least one hit and the Connecticut bats reached the 10-run plateau for the third time in the last four games.
After Yahn and Melley singled to open the top of the fourth, DeRoche-Duffin got the Huskies off to the fast start with a three-run blast to right field, marking his ninth round tripper in his last 13 games. Later in the frame, junior DH Tyler Gnesda (Laguna Nigel, Calif.) pushed his hitting-streak to a team-best 10 games with a an infield single to plate John Toppa (Portsmouth, R.I.)
USF struck back for two runs in the home half of the fourth on a two-run homer off the bat of Joe Genord. Connecticut answered with three runs of its own in the seventh. After Zac Susi (Southington, Conn.) and Aaron Hills (Groton, Conn.) reached on singles, senior OF Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) roped his eighth double of the season off the wall in right to plate two and push the Husky advantage to 6-2. Later in the inning, Sundberg came around to score on a fielding error by the second baseman.
Yahn put the finishing touches on an excellent day at the dish with a bases-clearing triple in the top of the eighth to extend the Connecticut lead to 11-2.
With the victory, the Huskies move to 21-29 all-time against the Bulls in a series dating back to 1968.
The teams continue the three-game set on Friday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m.