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STORRS, Conn. -- The UConn baseball team (27-15, 6-6 American) continues a nine-game homestand this weekend when it hosts Memphis (27-12, 7-5 American) for a three-game conference set. First pitch from J.O. Christian Field on Friday, April 24 is set for 3 p.m. before a 1 p.m. start on Saturday, April 25 and a noon series finale on Sunday, April 26.
FANS: Please note that due to spring weekend on campus there will be several road closures, most notably on Hillside Road. Please use alternate routes and arrive early to games if possible.
The Huskies and Tigers have squared off five times in the past, with UConn up 4-1 in the all-time series that dates back to 1999. The two squads met as conference foes for the first time last season, with UConn taking two of three at Memphis' FedExPark.
Connecticut is coming off a pair of dominant midweek performances, toppling UMass by a score of 13-2 on Tuesday before a 17-2 rout over UMass Lowell on Wednesday. Memphis also took two in the midweek, defeating Belmont at home before heading to Ole Miss to take a victory from an SEC foe. The Tigers are currently a game ahead of the Huskies in The American standings, with just two games separating the league's top five teams.
UConn has found a balance of pitching and hitting to contribute to its strong start, currently first in The American in ERA (2.74, 12th nationally) and second in the league in batting average (.290). The Huskies lead the league and are 17th nationally with 288 runs scored and have clubbed 31 homers on the year to place top-50 in the country.
Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) leads UConn at the dish with a .369 average, coming in at first in The American in hits (69), runs scored (45) and RBIs (43). The junior has cracked 12 doubles and clubbed five home runs on the year, driving in five or more runs on three occasions. Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.) is hitting .350 in his rookie season, while Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) is slashing .315/.401/.483 with a team-high seven home runs. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) gets on base at a .438 clip from the leadoff spot and is eighth nationally with 26 stolen bases and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) is tied for the conference lead with 13 doubles.
On the mound, UConn has been led by its front-end starting pitcher duo of Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) and Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.). Cross is 7-2 on the year with a 1.91 ERA, placing first in The American and sixth nationally with 85 strikeouts against only 15 walks. Kay holds a 6-3 record and is tops in the league with a 1.29 ERA, 12th in the country. He is also among the national leaders with a 0.89 WHIP and 68 strikeouts. As a staff, UConn is ninth in the NCAA with 7.35 hits allowed/nine innings.
Memphis is 23-8 over its last 31 contests and 27-12 overall this season, holding a team ERA of 3.11 and a team batting average of .289. Kane Barrow is tops on the squad with a .363 average, while Tucker Tubbs is the top power bat for the Tigers with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 40 RBIs. Dylan Toscano is 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA on the mound, while Connor Alexander holds a 2.54 ERA. Closer Nolan Blackwood has an even 1.00 ERA and is second in the league with 12 saves.
Following the Memphis series, UConn concludes its long home stretch with a midweek game against Holy Cross on Wednesday, April 29 at 3 p.m.