Central Michigan ends UConn baseball season in NCAA tournament, 14-9

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The UConn baseball team started its latest NCAA tournament appearance with promise, but all hopes that this might be the year for a breakthrough to the College Word Series were dashed within 48 hours with a barrage of power by Notre Dame and Central Michigan.

The day after the Huskies’ 26-3 drubbing at hands of top seed Notre Dame, No. 4 Central Michigan blasted four more home runs to send UConn home, beating the Huskies 14-9 Sunday at the South Bend Regional.

CMU, which isn’t known for power, also put pressure on UConn’s defense all afternoon with the bunt. No. 3 hitter Zach Gilles beat out four bunts for singles. Mario Camilletti, Zach Heeke, Garrett Navarra and Chase Rollin all homered for Central Michigan, which eliminated Michigan on Sunday. UConn starter Pat Gallagher was knocked out in the fourth inning after allowing 10 hits and eight runs, four earned.

Ben Casparius allowed 11 earned runs on Saturday as UConn pitching, after the 6-1 victory over Michigan in Game 1, fell apart.

Trailing 9-3, the Huskies pulled to within one run on Reggie Crawford’s home run in the seventh, the first of his two homers, but Central Michigan, the MAC champ and No. 4 seed in the regional, tacked on five more in the bottom of the seventh. CMU bunted nine times in the game, six for hits.

Erik Stock, who went 9-for-13 in the regional, and Chris Brown homered to give UConn (37-16) an early 3-0 lead. The Huskies were Big East regular season and tournament champs in 2021.

Dom Amore can be reached at damore@courant.com.