CLEARWATER, Fla. -- UConn baseball pitcher Carson Cross has been named American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, the league announced on Monday (May 17) night. Cross headlines a league-best seven All-Conference performers for the Huskies, including four first team members.
In addition to Cross (Brentwood, N.H.), a unanimous first team selection, fellow pitcher Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.), outfielder Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) and second baseman Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) garnered first team All-Conference nods. Representing UConn on the second team are catcher Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.), outfielder Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) and third baseman Willy Yahn (Sharon, Conn.). The seven All-Conference performers for Connecticut are the most since it had 11 players receive postseason honors from the Big East in 2011.
Cross, a National Pitcher of the Year watch list member, Golden Spikes Award final watch list member and Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist, is UConn's first league pitcher of the year since current Red Sox hurler Matt Barnes earned the honor in 2011. Cross was the 2014 American Preseason Pitcher of the Year and has been named the league's pitcher of the week three times this year. The 6'6 righty is 10-2 with a 2.18 ERA in a league-best 99.0 innings, topping the conference with 106 strikeouts against only 24 walks. He also is first in the conference with a .206 batting average against and is among the national leaders in strikeouts and WHIP.
Kay earns a spot on the first team alongside Cross, making UConn the only team in The American with two first team pitchers. The sophomore standout finished the regular season third in the league with a 2.16 ERA and second behind only Cross with a .209 batting average against. Placing third in the conference with 96.0 innings pitched, Kay has 89 strikeouts (fifth in the league) against 23 walks this year and is tops in the league with a 1.00 WHIP.
A repeat member of the All-Conference first team, Davey earns his second-consecutive nod in a 2015 season in which he is batting .295 with six home runs, a league-best 19 doubles and 44 RBIs. Davey is fourth in the league in total RBIs and leads the league with 25 driven in during conference games. The senior added 11 stolen bases and 36 runs scored during the regular season.
One of the top hitters in the country, Siena picks up a first team nod with a .358 average, 61 runs scored, seven home runs and 50 RBIs on the year. The junior leads The American and is top-10 nationally in runs and hits (88) and is second in the league in average, RBIs and total bases (127). He has climbed the UConn single-season ranks this season, currently with the fifth-most hits and seventh-most runs in a single-season in program history.
Another repeat All-Conference selection, McDowell grabs a second-team nod with a .302 average, seven home runs and 38 RBIs. The junior backstop leads the nation with 11 sacrifice flies and has caught 18 would-be base-stealers. He has also helped the UConn pitching staff to a league-best 2.90 ERA from behind the plate.
Sundberg garners a second team nod with a conference-leading 31 stolen bases on the year, good for 11th nationally. The junior outfielder is third in the conference with 52 runs scored and is second in the league with 44 walks. Sporting a .284 batting average, a .410 on-base percentage and 35 RBIs, Sundberg has led off in every game for UConn and made only one error in center field, holding a .992 fielding percentage.
Wrapping up the All-Conference performers, freshman Willy Yahn picks up a second-team nod during his rookie campaign in Storrs. The third baseman is third in The American with a .346 batting average and has struck out only 12 times this year, third-fewest in the league. The rookie has added six doubles, two triples and three home runs along with 30 RBIs on the year.
The Huskies return to action when they begin play in the 2015 American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship on Wednesday at 3 p.m. UConn, the six-seed, takes on third-seeded Tulane in opening round action at Bright House Field.