Feb. 13, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - Head coach Jim Penders enters his ninth season at the helm of the
The 2012 UConn baseball team will work toward duplicating the success of 2011, despite a number of personnel changes at key positions. “We can’t focus on what we did last year, or what we’ve lost from 2011, if we’re going to have a championship season in 2012,” stated Penders. “We will concentrate on continuing the development that took place last fall, and hopefully gel our old and new parts together to form a Big East contender.” This year, the Huskies will call on some new faces to step up in a big way, but the team has kept a solid core of major contributors from a year ago.
UConn’s starting rotation will look completely different from the start of the 2011 campaign. Sophomore Brian Ward (
“Solidifying a starting rotation will be one of the first orders of business once the season gets underway,” said Penders. “The sooner we determine who will eat those innings, the better our team will be.”
As a whole, the Huskies lost 308 innings pitched from its 2011 starters, who compiled a 27-13 record and 3.63 ERA. Barnes, a First Team All-American, and Greg Nappo combined for 21 wins last season and 49 in their careers. A younger staff looks to step in this season and get UConn back to the NCAA Tournament.
Fischer, a 6’5 right-hander, will make the move from the bullpen to the rotation this year after earning two starts in 24 appearances last year. Last season, he posted a 2-1 record, 2.20 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. For his career, Fischer has made seven starts and owns a 3.11 ERA over the last three years.
Junior RHP Pat
Redshirt-junior Will Jolin (
The Huskies return a significant amount of experience in the bullpen. Despite the loss of Second Team All-American Kevin Vance, UConn is still prepared to close out games in the late innings. Junior RHP
Redshirt-junior Scott Oberg (
Junior Ryan Moore (
Redshirt-freshman David Mahoney (
A talented crop of freshman round out the Huskies’ pitching staff this year. LHP Jared Dettmann (
Behind the plate, UConn lost Doug Elliot, who caught nearly every inning a year ago. The good news is that redshirt-senior captain Joe Pavone (
Freshman Alex DeBellis (
A pair of lefty bats in senior John Sulzicki (
Around the horn, Coach Penders has shuffled his infield from where it was last season. The one constant is junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (
Senior captain Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme,
Fellow senior captain Tim Martin (
Looking to crack the lineup on a consistent basis this year is sophomore Tom Verdi (
Sophomore Mike Friel (Belle Mead, N.J.) brings back a year of experience after playing on the infield and as a designated hitter last season. In 24 games and 18 starts, Friel, a pesky hitter, batted .264 with nine runs scored and eight RBI.
Freshman newcomer Jon Testani (
Junior captain Billy Ferriter (
Moore, a right-handed hitter, and excellent athlete will likely make his way into the lineup in right field this season. A year ago, he played in 14 games and made six starts. Also returning and looking for a spot in the outfield is sophomore Anthony Aceto (
Freshman right-handed hitter Eric Yavarone (
The 2012 campaign gets underway at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge in
“We have a very demanding early season schedule,” Penders stated. “It will test our youthful squad, and prepare us for Big East play toward the end of March.” Last season the Huskies went 1-2 in the challenge, including a loss to Purdue.
The Big Ten/BIG EAST challenge will be the first of five early season road trips for the Huskies. From
March begins with a four-game set in
The next trip will take the Huskies west for the program’s first visit to the Pacific Northwest in
UConn returns to the East Coast for a second competition in
On March 21, the Huskies return to
BIG EAST play starts on March 23 with a three-game series at
The Huskies will play 12 games against teams that participated in last season’s NCAA Tournament, including three against teams that advanced to the Super Regionals.
Aside from the game against Yale, the Huskies take on four other
The BIG EAST Baseball Championship will once again be played in
For 2012, Penders has added a pair of former UConn players to his coaching staff. Jeff Hourigan (‘05) and Josh MacDonald (‘06) will each make their debuts with the Huskies this season. Hourigan, who played two seasons at Clemson before transferring to