STORRS, Conn. – A pair of former UConn hurlers, Kevin Vance (’11) and Greg Nappo (’11), have been selected to compete on the international stage in World Baseball Classic qualifying tournaments in February and March. Vance will represent Philippines at the Sydney qualifying tournament in mid-February, while Nappo will pitch for Colombia at the Panama City qualifying tournament in late March.
The Sydney qualifying tournament will be held Feb. 11-14 at Blacktown International Sportspark, with Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa competing for one berth to the March 2017 World Baseball Classic. In March, the Panama City tournament will be played at Rod Carew Stadium and will feature Colombia, France, Panama and Spain.
“Kevin was on campus watching a couple of our guys throw pens yesterday, and I spoke with Greg recently about his opportunity with Colombia,” said 13th-year UConn head coach Jim Penders. “We are excited about our UConn guys waving the Husky banner all over the world. Both of those guys continue to be great representatives of our program in professional baseball on and off the field. With Australia added in the coming weeks, we’ve had UConn baseball players compete on five continents over the past six years.”
Drafted by the Marlins in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Nappo finished off a stellar collegiate career ranking in the top-10 in program history in wins (25), innings pitched (311.1) and strikeouts (215). He appeared in 33 games out of the bullpen for the AAA-level New Orleans Zephyrs during the 2015 season, holding a 2.66 ERA in 47.1 innings of work. In five seasons in the minors, Nappo has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.001 WHIP.
Vance was drafted in the 19th round of the 2011 MLB Draft after earning NCBWA Second Team All-American honors in his final season in Storrs. The righty currently holds the program single-season record with 13 saves. During the 2015 minor league baseball season, he earned the call up to the AAA-level with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, appearing in six games for the Reno Aces.