May 22, 2014
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Jon Testani picked up three hits and scored twice and Anthony Kay recorded an 11-out save to lead the seventh-seeded UConn baseball team (27-30) past third-seeded Houston (42-15), 7-2, on Thursday at Bright House Field. The game was the Huskies' second of Pool B play at The American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship, and evened their pool play record at 1-1.
Testani (Monroe, Conn.) went 3-for-4 in the win, crushing a solo home run in the seventh inning to extend on UConn's early lead. The Huskies scored three times in the first two innings, and picked up four insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings to back Kay's stellar relief performance.
Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) drove in two runs in the triumph, and Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Nico Darras (Laguna Beach, Calif.), Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) each had a hit and a run scored for the Huskies, with McDowell also driving in a run.
Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) took the ball for UConn and tossed five innings of two-run ball, allowing eight hits and a walk. He was opposed by Houston's Jake Lemoine (6-6), who went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) was brilliant in his 3.2 inning save, not allowing a run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Huskies took an early lead in the bottom of the first, picking up a run on a double play ball. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) led off the inning with a walk, and moved to third on a Verdi single before scoring on the 6-4-3 DP two batters later.
UConn picked up two more runs in the bottom of the second to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Darras and Testani led off the inning with singles, and moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) followed with an RBI ground ball to the shortstop, and reached on a throwing error that allowed another run to score on the play.
The Cougars picked up a run in the top of the third, cutting the lead to two with a Casey Grayson RBI single. UH struck again in the fifth, using a delayed steal attempt with runners on the corners to plate a run before McDowell picked up his second caught stealing of the day to record the final out of the outing for Tabakman (4-4).
Kay came out of the pen for UConn with the bases loaded and one away in the top of the sixth, and the freshman promptly struck out back-to-back Cougars to work out of the jam unscathed. After another scoreless inning for Kay in the top of the seventh, Testani extended the UConn lead to 4-2 with a mammoth solo home run to left-center field.
Houston loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, but once again Kay was able to escape the jam. McDowell delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to stretch the lead to three, and three batters later Siena cracked a two-run double down the left field line to make it 7-2.
Kay remained on for the ninth, firing a scoreless frame to complete his second save of the year.
The Huskies return to action on Saturday, May 24 when they conclude pool play against the sixth-seeded Temple Owls. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.
- Jon Testani extended his hitting streak to six games with a second-inning single and recorded his second multi-hit game in his last three outings
- Testani also hit his first home run of 2014 and his fifth career long ball
- Anthony Kay picked up the second save of his career
- The win over Houston, ranked as high as No. 12 in the national polls, marked UConn's first over a ranked team this season
- The Huskies improve to 21-12 all time under Jim Penders in conference tournament play and have won five of their last six games at Bright House Field