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MIAMI, Fla. -- Fresh off a series win at nationally-ranked Kennesaw State last weekend, the UConn baseball team (4-5) faces another challenging early-season test when it travels to Florida International (7-5) for three games in Miami. The Huskies and Panthers will square off on Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m. before a 6 p.m. start on Saturday, March 7 and a 1 p.m. series finale on Sunday, March 8.
The Huskies pitched their way to back-to-back victories to open the KSU set last weekend, with Carson Cross (Brenwtood, N.H.) fanning a career-high 11 batters on Feb. 27 before Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.) fired eight shutout innings on Feb. 28. Kay is among the national leaders this year in several categories, holding a 1-1 record with a 0.78 ERA and a .095 batting average against in 23.0 innings. Cross is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 2015 and is 10th nationally and first in The American with 26 strikeouts against six walks in 17.2 innings.
Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) homered twice in the Kennesaw series and leads the Huskies with three long balls this season. The slugger is batting .324 with a team-high .618 slugging percentage. Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) hit .429 at KSU and leads UConn with a .333 average on the year, adding two doubles, two triples and seven RBIs. Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) has shined in his first season in Storrs and holds a .320/.500/.600 slash line with four doubles, a home run and nine RBIs.
Florida International hosts UConn this weekend with a 7-5 record on the year, including a 5-2 mark at FIU Baseball Stadium. Zach Soria leads the FIU offense with a .417 batting average, while Brian Portelli is batting .370 with 11 doubles and a team-high 11 RBIs. Eddie Silva is the third FIU regular starter batting over .300, currently checking in with a .324 average. On the mound, Andres Nunez has not allowed an earned run in 16.2 innings, holding a 2-0 record with 14 strikeouts against one walk. Cody Crouse has made three starts and struck out 15 in 17.0 innings and Danny Dopico is a top bullpen arm, fanning 16 in 8.2 innings on the year. As a staff, FIU is holding opposing hitters to a .232 batting average against and strike out nearly a batter per inning (106 in 110.0 IP).
UConn has never faced FIU prior to this season, with the Panthers marking one of six first-time opponents the Huskies will see in 2015. UConn is 8-11 all-time against teams currently comprising Conference USA and 38-56 against teams from the state of Florida. The Miami trip is the third of five trips UConn will make to the Sunshine State this year, previously playing at FAU in Boca Raton and taking on Siena in Port St. Lucie. In conference play, UConn travels to play UCF in Orlando and will play in the American Athletic Conference Championship in Clearwater.
After the FIU series, UConn is scheduled to begin its midweek slate with its first game in the Nutmeg State on March 10 against Sacred Heart.
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