TAMPA - Zac Gilcrease’s go-ahead hit and Kyle Teaf’s dazzling defensive play helped the No. 28 Bulls beat UConn, 3-2, and extend their season-high winning streak to 10 games Friday in Storrs, Conn.
Gilcrease laced a 1-2 pitch to right field for an RBI triple in the eighth inning to help the Bulls take the opener of a three-game series at New Britain Stadium.
“I couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” head coach Lelo Prado said. “He’s one of the best kids on and off the field that I’ve ever coached and I’m just happy for him to get a big hit.”
Freshman right-hander Jimmy Herget (5-1) struck out seven batters and gave up two earned runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings.
“Their lineup is pretty good and for a freshman to come here on Friday night and do what he just did, that says everything about him,” Prado said.
Lawrence Pardo pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn his first save of the season. The Bulls (24-14, 8-2) moved a season-high 10 games above the .500 mark and started the weekend tied atop the Big East standings with No. 8 Louisville.
UConn (23-14, 8-5) put the potential tying run on first to lead off the bottom of the ninth before Teaf’s heads-up play dashed the Huskies’ comeback chances. The sophomore shortstop made a diving catch on a popup in foul territory in shallow left field and made the throw to first for the double play.
“It was unbelievable. That stopped momentum and Pardo finished the game out strong,” Prado said.
Game 2 of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s finale has been moved up to a noon start.