TAMPA, Fla. - Freshman LHP Tim Cate (3-1) fired 6.2 innings of one-run ball and five Huskies recorded multi-hit afternoons at the plate as the UConn baseball team cruised past USF, 7-3, on Friday in game two of a three-game series at USF Baseball Stadium. With its eighth-straight win, Connecticut moves to 32-22 overall and 13-9 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Bulls fall to 23-30 overall.
The Huskies' current eight-game win streak marks the program's longest such streak since it won 12-straight from April 14-27, 2011.
Cate, who was making his 11th start of the season, pitched into the seventh inning, allowing just five hits and one run in 6.2 innings of work with eight strikeouts. The freshman lefty moved into a tie with former Husky ace Carson Cross ('15) for 10th in single-season program history with 86 punch-outs. Junior closer Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.) finished off the final two innings to secure his team-leading eighth save of the year.
Freshman OF John Toppa (Portsmouth, R.I.) notched his first career three-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a run scored, while freshman C Zac Susi (Southington, Conn.) picked up three hits in four at-bats and drove in a run. In total, seven of the Huskies' nine starters registered at least one hit in the victory.
After Toppa and Susi delivered back-to-back singles in the fourth, Hill gave the Huskies a 2-0 advantage, shooting a single into center to collect his fifth multi-RBI game of the 2016 season.
Sophomore 3B Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) extended his hitting streak to five-straight and picked up his 38th RBI of the year with his American Athletic Conference-leading 17th RBI of the season in the sixth inning to plate Hill.
The Husky freshmen struck again in the seventh, adding an insurance run to push the advantage to 4-0. After Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) opened the frame with a walk, Toppa ripped a single up the middle before Susi picked up his 19th RBI of the season with a base knock into center.
Yahn capped off an excellent afternoon with a two-run double in the ninth, bringing home Susi and Hill and giving Connecticut a 7-3 lead.
The Bulls grabbed a run back in the seventh but Randy Polonia (Stamford, Conn.) neutralized the threat out of the bullpen by striking out David Villar on three pitches.
The teams conclude the three-game series with a 1 p.m. finale on Saturday.