Sept. 11, 2013
By Jeff Piascik, UConn Athletic Communications
STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut baseball team hosted its annual Scout Day on Thursday, Sept. 5 at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs. Over 20 scouts from around Major League Baseball, as well as several media outlets, came out to watch the Huskies take part in drills.
Head coach Jim Penders enters his 11th season at the helm of the Huskies and has turned the program into a perennial contender, culminating in the team’s BIG EAST Tournament title this past June. For Penders, Thursday’s activities are an important part of the fall slate, giving his players extra motivation to start the offseason off on a positive note.
“This is a great event for all our players,” said Penders. “It gives the guys a chance to go out and show people what they can do. We look forward to this every year.”
Last season, scouts came in droves as former Husky LJ Mazzilli returned to Storrs for his final season. Mazzilli, who finished his career as one of the most decorated players in UConn history, was selected 116th overall by the New York Mets in the 2013 MLB Draft. This season, scouts were keyed in on righty Carson Cross, who finished last season 9-4 with a 2.44 earned run average in 16 starts. Cross was drafted in the 24th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the draft, but decided to return to Connecticut for his junior campaign.
The practice also marked the first time the Husky newcomers stepped foot onto J.O. Christian field. Pitching Coach Josh MacDonald sees it as the unofficial beginning to the season.
“I think we have some really good guys coming in this year,” MacDonald said. “We have some work to do in our new conference but I think we have another good group of guys. We’re excited to start working with our new players.”
UConn Baseball has an exciting schedule on tap for fall ball, including the Dugout Club Barbecue on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m., immediately followed by the much-anticipated Alumni Game. The Huskies will then take on the Ontario Nationals in an exhibition game, facing the Canadian squad on Sept. 28 at noon. The annual intrasquad scrimmage will take place in the form of the Blue and White World Series, to take place the first week of October and close the fall ball season. The series will begin on Oct. 4.
UConn will also hold open tryouts during the fall campaign, and more information on that can be found HERE.
With practices for the fall season underway, the 2013 Huskies will prepare for a season of new challenges but figure to once again be a contender in league play in their first year in the American Athletic Conference.