BOSTON – Former UConn baseball ace Matt Barnes was promoted to the major leagues by the Boston Red Sox on Monday, Sept. 8. Barnes becomes the fourth former UConn baseball player to play in the MLB this season, setting a new program record.
Barnes joins his former teammates Nick Ahmed (’11) of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mike Olt (’10) of the Chicago Cubs and George Springer (’11) of the Houston Astros as ex-Huskies playing the majors in 2014. The previous record for the UConn baseball program was three players in the majors in the same year, previously accomplished in 2003 and 1961.
A first round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2011, Barnes enjoyed a breakout campaign in the minors this year prior to his promotion. The right-handed hurler made 22 starts for Class-AAA Pawtucket, winning eight games and holding a 3.95 ERA in 127 innings. Barnes struck out 103 batters for the PawSox against 46 walks, holding opponents to a .247 batting average against.
His season picked up a tremendous amount of momentum after he went seven no-hit innings for Pawtucket back on Aug. 2. In his last seven starts, beginning with that outing, Barnes went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA and fanned 44 against 10 walks in 58.2 innings.
During his time at UConn from 2009-11, Barnes etched his name in the UConn record books. He set a program record with 247 strikeouts in 256.2 career innings, winning 24 games (third all-time). The 2011 Big East Pitcher of the Year, Barnes was a First Team All-American and Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist in his stellar junior season.