Feb. 14, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut baseball team opens the 2013 season in Florida with a series of games against Big Ten competition; beginning with a 4:00 pm start against Purdue on Friday.
About the Huskies... UConn is coming off a 31-27-1 season that ended in the BIG EAST Championship Semifinals with back-to-back one-run losses to USF. The Huskies return five starters to the lineup, including redshirt-senior Billy Ferriter and senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli; the only two remaining starters from Connecticut’s 2011 Super Regional team. On the mound, four starting pitchers return, led by junior lefty Anthony Marzi. UConn is also expecting contributions from several freshman newcomers in the field such as catcher/first baseman Bobby Melley and infielders Bryan Daniello and Vinny Siena.
Mazzilli Receives Preseason Accolades... Mazzilli was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. One of the top hitters in the league in 2012, Mazzilli was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection last season. He was also named a Louisville Slugger Preseason First Team All-America pick by Collegiate Baseball News. For the second straight season, Mazzilli was tabbed as an All-America First Team selection by Perfect Game USA. He was also named to the Baseball America Preseason All-America Third Team.
Season Openers... UConn snapped a string of six straight season-opening losses in 2012 with its shutout of Indiana. In the Penders era, Connecticut is 2-7 in season openers, with the only other win a 10-7 road win at Belmont on February 25, 2005. Since the Huskies joined the BIG EAST, they are 9-19 in season openers.
Preseason Poll... In the coaches’ poll, the Huskies (74 points received) were pegged fourth after a fifth place finish in the BIG EAST standings in 2012. Louisville (98) received eight of 11 first place votes and to be tabbed as the preseason favorite. St. John’s (82) took the three remaining first place votes and was followed by Notre Dame (81) to round out the top-three.
Up Next... The Huskies will be back in Florida next weekend for the UCF Tournament in Orlando. UConn opens against the host Knights on Friday at 7:00 pm, followed by games against Troy and Texas Tech across the weekend.
Homegrown Huskies... The Connecticut 34-man roster features 19 players from the “Nutmeg State”. All UConn players from the state of Connecticut will be identifiable by a decal on the back of their hats and helmets in the outline of the state. The Husky starting lineup features three returning players from 2012 that are from Connecticut, including Mazzilli, Eric Yavarone and Jon Testani along with starting pitchers Marzi and Ward.