MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Senior OF Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Santa Ana, Calif.) blasted a pair of home runs as the UConn baseball team swept Memphis in doubleheader action on Saturday, April 30 at FedExPark. The Huskies topped the Tigers, 10-1, in game one before grabbing an 11-9 victory in the nightcap.
Connecticut improved to a season-best six games over .500 with the victories, moving to 24-18 overall and 8-5 in American Athletic Conference play, while Memphis fell to 14-30 overall.
With two wins, UConn jumps to 7-3 all-time against the Tigers in a series dating back to 1999 and has won 11 of its last 14 games overall.
Eight of the Huskies' nine starters recorded hits in the opener, including DeRoche-Duffin who finished 1-for-4 with two runs scored and his league-leading 11th home run of the season. Senior SS Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) blasted his third home run of the year and collected three RBIs, while junior 2B Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) tallied two hits in four at-bats with an RBI and run scored.
Junior ace Anthony Kay (5-2) cruised through eight inning of one-run ball, grabbing his team-leading fifth victory of the season. The Husky LHP notched five strikeouts, moving into sole possession of third on the program's all-time punch-out list with 228.
UConn broke on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning when Hill ripped a line-drive double into the gap in left center to score Zac Susi (Southington, Conn.), who opened the frame with a single up the middle. The Tigers answered with a run in the home half of the inning, stringing together two singles before scoring on an RBI groundout.
Connecticut took back the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring a pair of two-out runs. After a walk from Connor Buckley (Stonington, Conn.) and the second hit of the afternoon from Hill, senior OF Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) notched his 14th RBI of the season with a single up the middle before Yahn followed up with an RBI base knock of his own to push the Husky lead to 3-1.
DeRoche-Duffin blasted a no-doubt solo shot over the left field fence to lead off the top of the sixth before Buckley collected his eighth RBI of the year with a two-out single up the middle.
Bryan Daniello capped the 10-run effort with a three-run round tripper to right in the top of the ninth.
Freshman LHP Tim Cate (Manchester, Conn.) took the ball for his eighth start of the season and lasted 5.2 innings, surrendering five earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts in a no-decision. Freshman RHP Randy Polonia (3-2) picked up the win in relief, allowing one run in 2.0 innings, while junior closer Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.) finished off the contest to secure his fifth save of the year.
Sundberg, who entered the season with one home run in three season, led the offensive charge, finishing 1-for-5 with a grand slam, four RBIs, and a run scored. Yahn collected two hits in four at-bats, scoring three times, while DeRoche-Duffin scored three times and launched his second home run of the twin bill.
Connecticut stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the second, highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of Sundberg.
After the Tigers grabbed two back in the bottom of the second, DeRoche-Duffin continued his torrid stretch with a two-run shot to left field, plating Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.).
Memphis took its first lead of the series in the sixth, sending 11 men to the plate and scoring six times to jump ahead, 8-7. Connecticut reclaimed the lead in the seventh, scoring two runs, to move ahead, 9-8.
UConn grabbed a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth, highlighted by an RBI wall-ball double off the bat of Yahn.
The teams conclude the three-game series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. ET first pitch.
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