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    Huskies in the Pros Make Playoff Push

    Aug. 29, 2012

    Summer ball wrapped up nearly two weeks ago for all UConn baseball players as the 2012 fall semester has opened and classes begun.  The start of fall ball isn’t that far off as the Huskies prepare for the 2013 campaign.

    For former Connecticut players in the professional ranks, it’s time to make a push for the playoffs and extend the season deep into September and for one Husky great, into October.

    Mike Olt made his Major League debut on August 2 for the Texas Rangers and went 1-3 with a run off established big league starter C.J. Wilson.  A little over a week into his first visit to the bigs, Olt delivered a walk-off pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth to push the Rangers past the visiting Detroit Tigers on August 11.

    Since then, Olt has struggled at the plate for Texas.  His average is down to .160 (4-for-25), with five runs batted in and one double.  When the Rangers called Mike up, their record stood at 60-43 and had a four game lead over the Los Angeles Angels.  Currently, Texas is 77-52 with a 5.5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the West.

    Despite his offensive woes, Olt has still been called on by manager Ron Washington for starts against left-handed pitching as he platoons with veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland.  A third baseman throughout his college and minor league careers, Olt has played there just three times for Texas, but has earned six starts at first.

    The Texas Rangers have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and played in the fall classic in both.  After claiming the American League Championship in 2010 and 2011, the Rangers fell to the San Francisco Giants (4-1) and St. Louis Cardinals (4-3) in back-to-back World Series.

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    In mid-August, George Springer received a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi in the Houston Astros system after putting up big number at Single-A Lancaster.  The Corpus Christi Hooks are 78-56 overall and lead the second half of the season in the Texas League Southern Division with a 41-23 record.  Since being called up, Springer has batted just .176 with three runs and three doubles in 16 games for the Hooks.

    Nick Ahmed and Kevin Vance are both posed to move on to the Carolina League playoffs with their respective organizations.  Ahmed, the starting shortstop, and the Lynchburg (A-Adv.) Hillcats (ATL) lead the second half of the Northern Division with a 39-31 record and are 70-64 overall.  He owns a .261 batting average and has clubbed 34 doubles, six home runs and driven in 48 runs, while swiping 38 bags.

    Vance was promoted to the Winston-Salem (A-Adv.) Dash (CHW) in mid-July and has made nine appearances.  The Dash is 83-49 overall and clinched a playoff spot by winning the Southern Division first half with a 44-25 record.  Vance is 1-0 with a 1.08 earned run average over 16.2 innings to go with 23 strikeouts.

    The Greensboro (A) Grasshoppers (MIA) have clinched a post season berth in the South Atlantic League with a 77-56 overall record and claimed the North Division first half title with a 46-24 record.  Lefty Greg Nappo has pitched for the Grasshoppers as a starter, closer, long-reliever, setup-man and lefty specialist.  He has pitched in 37 games, holds a 3-4 record and 2.77 ERA in 74.2 innings pitched.  Nappo has held opposing batters to a .196 average and has struck out 98.

    Minor League Notes
    - David Fischer and the Auburn (A-S.S.) Doubledays (WSH) currently hold a two-game lead and an inside-track at a playoff spot in the New York-Penn League; Fischer is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA, while starting seven of 11 appearances
    - Scott Oberg of the Grand Junction (R) Rockies was named a Pioneer League All-Star; Oberg and the Rockies sit a game back in the standings, while he leads the league with 12 saves and has registered a 2.63 ERA and .198 BAA