In the first game of a key Big East three-game series in Tampa, UConn failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead and the two teams head into Saturday's game tied in the Big East with 14-8 league records.
UConn (27-22 overall) took a 2-0 lead into the fifth and Fischer retired the first two batters. But five consecutive USF (31-18) hits with two out changed the complexion of the game. Freshman shortstop Kyle Teaf tied the game on a single down the left field line to score Longley from second. USF went ahead on a bunt single up the third base side to score Teaf.
Pitching with his first lead of the night, Bulls senior lefty Andrew Barbosa buckled down and struck out the side in the sixth. The Huskies went in order again in the seventh as Barbosa retired 10 in a row.
Connecticut jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second. Senior first baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.) doubled to the wall in center to lead off the inning. Sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) sacrificed Fuller to third, but wound up on second on a throwing error by Barbosa, allowing Fuller to score the game's first run.
With two men on, freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) pushed a base hit through the left side to extend the lead as Verdi rounded third and scored just ahead of the throw from left field.
The Huskies were unable to capitalize in the top of the third. Senior first baseman Tim Martin (Stratford, Conn.) reached on a drag bunt and junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) singled to give UConn two runners on with no outs. With one out, Verdi grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Connecticut threatened in the ninth as Verdi was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior pinch-hitter Stanley Paul (Stamford, Conn.). USF junior right hander Adams then fanned each of the next two batters to lock down the save, his third of the year.
For Fischer (3-6), it was his first complete game of the season as he went eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. Barbosa (7-4) struck out eight and scattered five hits over eight innings, surrendering two runs, one earned.
The last UConn hit came on a bunt single by junior right fielder Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.), leading off the fifth inning. The Huskies are now 0-3 when a pitcher goes the distance and they have now gone 19 straight games without a starter recording a win. Connecticut also attempted six bunts in the loss; two singles, two sacrifices and two outs.
At the plate, Teaf was the only player in the game to record multiple hits as he went 3-3 out of the nine hole for USF. The two teams take the field again Saturday at 6:00 pm for game two of the series.