GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Despite playing the nation's No. 1 team to a 5-5 tie after seven innings, the UConn baseball team came up just short, falling, 6-5, to the Gators in front of 3,027 fans at McKethan Stadium on Saturday in NCAA Regional action. With the setback, Connecticut moves to 38-24 overall, while Florida improves to 49-13.
UConn moves to a regional elimination game against second-seeded Georgia Tech on Sunday, June 5 at 12 p.m. on ESPN3. The Huskies topped the Yellow Jackets, 7-6, in regional action on Friday. The winner of Sunday's elimination tilt will move on to face the Gators at 6 p.m.
Senior 1B Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) led the offensive charge for the Huskies, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, while junior 2B Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) collected two hits and drove in a run in the nine-hole.
Junior LHP Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, Conn.) took the ball for his team-leading 17th start of the season and pitched into the sixth, allowing five runs (four earned) in 5.2 innings of work with three strikeouts. The Husky bullpen finished off the final 3.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Melley got the Huskies off to a quick start with his career-best 11th home run of the season, blasting a solo shot over the scoreboard in right field. The Husky 1B entered his senior season with five long balls in 181 games.
The Gators responded with a two-run top of the third before the Huskies knotted the game back up on an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.).
After Gators 1B Peter Alonso put Florida up 5-2 with his third home run of regional action in the fifth, Connecticut responded with a three-run frame a half-inning later, stringing together three hits to draw even at 5-5. Hill got the scoring started with a bases-loaded RBI single before the Huskies cut the lead to 5-4 following a wild pitch from Florida lefty A.J. Puk. Sophomore 3B Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) knotted the game up a batter later, lifting a sac fly to centerfield.
Florida scored the eventual game-winner in the top of the eighth on a leadoff homer off the bat of Jonathan India.
The game, which was originally scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., was delayed for 65 minutes due to lightning in the Gainesville area.
UConn enters Sunday's tilt against the Yellow Jackets with 14 wins in its last 16 contests.
Fans can keep up with the Huskies during their NCAA Tournament run by following @UConnBaseball on Twitter and by using the hashtag #HookC.