CLEARWATER, Fla. - After concluding the regular season with nine-straight wins, the UConn baseball team stayed red-hot as it entered postseason play, knocking off sixth-seeded Memphis, 6-2, on Wednesday at Bright House Field in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference tournament. With its 10th-straight win, Connecticut moves to 34-22 and advances to the winner's bracket, while Memphis drops to 19-38 and will play East Carolina in an elimination game on Thursday morning.
UConn advances to play USF on Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. The Bulls knocked off East Carolina, 4-2, earlier in the day on Wednesday. An updated tournament bracket has been posted above.
With six strikeouts by the Huskies' all-time punch-out leader Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.), the pitching staff eclipsed the 500-strikeout plateau (504) for the first time in program history. Connecticut checks in at No. 9 in the country with an impressive 9.2 K/9 mark.
Connecticut grabs its first double-digit win streak since the 2011 season (12) and improves to 24-15 in league tournament play under 13th-year head coach Jim Penders.
Kay, who stands in sixth in program history with 21 career wins, took the ball and turned in his third career complete-game, allowing just two runs and scattering nine hits to go along with six strikeouts.
At the dish, freshman OF John Toppa (Portsmouth, R.I.) registered his first career four-RBI game, finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) and Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) each picked up mullti-hit efforts in the Husky victory.
The Tigers got the scoring started in the top of the second, stringing together three hits in the frame, including an RBI bloop single off the bat of Jake Overbey.
Connecticut surged ahead in the fourth, scoring three runs with two outs. DeRoche-Duffin got the rally started with a sharp single into left, advanced to third on Daniello's second double of the afternoon, and scored on a two-run single off the bat of Toppa. On the scoring play, Toppa advanced to second on the throw to the plate and came around to the plate after a two-base fielding error by the centerfielder, pushing the Husky lead to 3-1.
The Huskies put another crooked number on the board in the home half of the sixth, scoring three times on two hits, highlighted by a two-run single from Toppa.
To keep up with the team throughout its postseason run, follow @UConnBaseball on Twitter and use the hashtag #HookC.