STORRS, Conn. – Prior to the 2014 Alumni game on Sept. 28, UConn baseball head coach Jim Penders doled out the team awards for the most 2014 season completed in May. Six Huskies were honored in total, with representatives from the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes each taking home an award.
Rising redshirt-junior Devin Over (Windsor, Conn.) was honored with The Hirschhorn Foundation Award, presented to the player who achieved exceptional mental toughness, overcame numerous setbacks and transformed adversity to opportunity. After missing a season due to injury and converting from a utility role to a full-time pitcher, Over emerged as one the top bullpen arms for the Huskies in 2014. The right-handed flamethrower made 22 appearances out of the pen for UConn, totaling a team-best 2.05 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. He picked up his first career save on May 2 at Memphis, entering the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and striking out the lone batter he faced.
The Donald “Dee” Rowe Scholar-Athlete Award went to rising redshirt sophomore hurler Ryan Radue (Appleton, Wis.). A 2013-14 American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team member, Radue tossed 14.1 innings in 2014 for the Huskies, compiling a 2.51 ERA and 10 strikeouts. He most recently completed the 2014 spring semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Recently graduated Southpaw Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) earned the Mrs. Mary Dropo Unsung Hero Award. Ward concluded his four-year on the hill in Storrs with one his best seasons, pitching in a variety of roles for the Huskies. Between weekend starts, midweek starts and bullpen appearances, Ward overall made 13 outings and 10 starts, totaling a 4-3 record and a 3.30 ERA. In 62.2 innings, he struck out 39 batters against only 28 walks. He tossed both of UConn’s complete games, including a shutout vs. Rhode Island on May 13. Ward finished his career ninth in program history with 229.0 innings pitched.
The James Allen Pitching Award was shared by 2014 senior Anthony Marzi (Berlin, Conn.) and rising sophomore Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, N.Y.). For Marzi, the award comes after a sterling senior season that saw the southpaw etch his name all over the UConn record books. A Third-Team All-Conference and All-New England performer in ’14, Marzi went 5-7 in a team-best 92.2 innings, making 15 starts. He totaled a UConn-high 69 strikeouts and held opponents to a paltry .225 batting average against. Marzi used the 2014 season the move into the program leaders in some of the loftiest categories, finishing his career fourth all-time in strikeouts with 217 and second with 297.1 innings pitched.
Kay worked in a variety of roles for the Huskies, showing effectiveness as a weekend starter and back-end reliever. In 18 overall appearances with eight starts, Kay compiled a 5-4 record with 56 strikeouts in 67.0 innings. As a reliever only, Kay notched a 1.57 ERA and a pair of saves. The lefty also set the UConn record for pickoffs in a season, catching eight potential base stealers on the year. He became one of six players nationally to record a win and a save on the same day, turning the trick on May 15 in a doublehaders vs. UCF. Perhaps his most memorable performance came in the postseason; when he recorded an 11-out save with 3.2 scoreless innings against No. 12 Houston at The American Championship.
Finally, the Lawrence R. Panciera MVP Award went to rising junior first baseman Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) after a tremendous sophomore campaign in 2014. Melley, an All-Conference, All-New England and All-Region First Team member, batted .359 for the Huskies, leading The American in average while also coming in at 25th nationally with a league-best .475 on-base percentage. He clubbed four home runs, 16 doubles and a triple en route to a UConn-best 47 RBIs. Melley recorded 21 multi-hit games and notched three or more hits 11 times. After a slow start, the slugger hit .407 over the final 45 games of 2014. Following the season, he was named NEIBA’s New England Player of the Year.
After the awards ceremony, the current crop of Huskies defeated the Alumni, 17-0, in a friendly exhibition contest. A full recap of the alumni game will follow shortly.