CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The sixth-seeded UConn baseball team (33-24) dropped a 3-1 decision to three-seed Tulane (34-21) on Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field. The contest was UConn's first of the 2015 American Baseball Championship, and the Huskies now move to the losers' bracket in the double-elimination style tournament.
The Huskies put baserunners on in eight of nine innings in a seven-hit performance but were unable to come up with hits in runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners on base. Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) led the Huskies at the dish with a 3-for-4 day and scored the lone run, driven in by Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.).
Andrew Zapata (Staten Island, N.Y.) took the ball for UConn and lasted four innings, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Patrick Duester made the start for Tulane and fired seven strong innings. Allowing a run on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
The Green Wave struck first with a solo home run from Lex Kaplan in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Huskies evened the contest in the next half inning when Daniello lifted a dropped sacrifice fly to right center to plate Davey, who led off the inning with a single.
After Duester stranded the bases loaded in the top of the third, the Green Wave went ahead again with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame. Zapata worked out of a jam of his own in the bottom of the fourth, getting a lineout double play with two on and one out to keep it a one-run game.
Sam Nepiarsky (Orange, Conn.) entered out of the pen for UConn to start the fifth and kept the Green Wave off the board until Kaplan's second home run of the game with two away in the bottom of the eighth made it 3-1. Ian Gibaut entered for Tulane to start the eighth and completed a two-inning save with a scoreless ninth inning.
UConn returns to action in an elimination game against seven-seed UCF tomorrow morning. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.
UConn is 2-2 all-time against Tulane
The Huskies move to 21-14 all-time in conference tournament play under Jim Penders
Sam Nepiarsky had a career-high 4.0 innings pitched
Blake Davey posted his seventh game this season with at least three hits