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KENNESAW, Ga. -- After taking two-of-three against Siena in Florida last weekend, the UConn baseball team (2-4) travels to Kennesaw State (5-2) this weekend for a three-game set with the Owls. KSU is ranked in the majority of national polls after a 2014 season that saw it reach the NCAA Super Regional round. First pitch on Friday, Feb. 27 is set for 4 p.m. before a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday, Feb. 28 and a noon start on Sunday, March 1.
The Husky bats came alive in Port St. Lucie last weekend, with UConn scoring 27 runs over three contests to go 2-1 against Siena. Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) drove in eight runs in the series and Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) added six RBIs. The Huskies got quality starts from Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.), Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) in the series and the UConn starting rotation now holds a combined 1.62 ERA through six outings. Kay picked up a spot on The American weekly honor following a career-high 10 strikeouts on Feb. 22.
DeRoche-Duffin leads the UConn offense on the year with a .438/.609/.813 slash line, adding a home run, three doubles and nine RBIs. Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) is hitting .368 on the year and Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) slots in with a .333 average. Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) is second behind DeRoche-Duffin with a .944 OPS and is tied with Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) for a team-best six runs scored. Siena and Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) follow DeRoche-Duffin with six RBIs apiece.
On the mound, Tabakman holds a team-best 0.75 ERA in 12.0 innings pitched, while Kay is tops on the squad with 16 strikeouts in 15.0 innings. Cross has fanned 15 batters in 12.0 frames during two Friday starts. The weekend trio has struck out 36 batters on the year against only eight walks and is holding opponents to a .201 batting average against.
UConn has never faced Kennesaw State prior to this season. The Owls are one of six first-time opponents for the Huskies this season, joining Florida International, Furman, conference-newcomer Tulane, USC Upstate and William & Mary. Following the trip to Georgia, UConn heads back to Florida from March 6-8 for a three-game set at FIU in Miami.