ORLANDO, Fla. — Connecticut scored early and often to back a complete game performance from Anthony Kay in a 15-1 rout of No. 16 UCF on Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field. The victory clinched an American Athletic Conference weekend series for the Huskies and moves them to 22-12 on the year and 5-3 in league play, while the Knights drop to 24-12 and 3-5 in conference action.
Bryan Daniello and Max McDowell each homered and drove in three to pace the Husky offense, while Vinny Siena and Willy Yahn both went 3-for-6 at the dish. Daniello and Blake Davey each scored three times and Bobby Melley and Yahn drove in two runs apiece.
UConn gave the ball to its sophomore southpaw Kay, who was excellent, allowing a run (unearned) on five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in a complete game against the conference’s top offense. Robby Howell got the start for UCF and lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
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The Huskies jumped on Howell early, putting a four-spot up in the top of the first inning. Sundberg and Siena singled to set the table in the inning, before a run came in on a dropped fly ball. A batter later, McDowell crushed a three-run home run to left field to give UConn a 4-0 advantage. UConn struck for another run in the top of the second when Bobby Melley notched a sacrifice fly to make it a five-run game.
In the top of the third, UConn loaded the bases before Jon Testani was hit by a pitch and Jack Sundberg ofted a sacrifice fly to center field to go up seven. In the next frame, Daniello continued his hot weekend with a two-run homer to give the Huskies a 9-0 advantage.
After a McDowell double with one away in the sixth, the Huskies stretched their advantage to 11 with back-to-back RBI singles from Daniello and Yahn. UConn grabbed two more with an RBI groundout from Melley before a Blake Davey RBI single, giving the Huskies at least two runs in five of the first seven innings.
Kay settled into a groove over the middle innings, retiring 11 in a row between the bottoms of the third and sixth innings to keep the Knights at bay. The Knights broke up the shutout with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh, using a pair of errors to make it a 13-1 game.
Aaron Hill drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the top of the ninth, and Yahn pushed across UConn’s 15th run later in the frame with an RBI single. Kay came back out to go the distance in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two in a 1-2-3 frame.