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Cate and Yahn Recognized, Huskies Slotted Fourth

Dec. 21, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - With under two months until the start of the 2017 season, the American Athletic Conference announced its preseason baseball awards and poll on Wednesday morning.

Sophomore LHP Tim Cate and senior co-captain Willy Yahn were named to the All-Conference First Team. Cate was also voted Co-Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while the Huskies were picked by The American head coaches to finish fourth in the league.

"Foul poles are more interesting to me than preseason polls, but it is exciting in the respect that when they start to pop up, the season is right around the corner," said UConn head coach Jim Penders. "All that matters now is to continue our work to finish as high as possible in the 2017 postseason poll.  That's the one that matters. 

"I am proud of Tim's and Willy's past performance and current preparation," said Penders. "The preseason accolades for them are well-deserved.  They will now have to work even harder to perform under greater expectations in 2017 in order to prove the conference coaches right."

UConn pitchers have been recognized as American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year the past two seasons. All-time strikeouts leader Anthony Kay took home the award in 2016 and Carson Cross (`15) received the honor after a 10-win campaign in 2015.

Cate is coming off a stellar freshman campaign that earned him numerous accolades. He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American after making 13 starts and finishing 2016 with a 5-1 record and 2.73 ERA in 82.1 innings pitched.


 

 

Cate became just the sixth UConn pitcher to record 100 strikeouts in a single-season (101) leading to his selection of American Athletic Conference Rookie Pitcher of the Year. He ranked in the top-50 nationally in H/9 (6:01), strikeouts, K/9 (11.04) and WHIP (1.00), while leading the conference in batting average against (.186). The Huskies left-hander also pitched for the 2016 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, a team consisting of the best underclassmen in the country.

Yahn was a First Team All-Conference performer after playing in all 63 games for UConn in 2016, hitting a team-best .319. He led The American with 88 hits and was top-10 in the conference in batting average (.319), runs (48), doubles (20) and RBI's (46).

Yahn also received accolades as a 2016 All-New England First Team member and 2016 ACBA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team. He continued his success over the summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, earning All-Star honors for the Bourne Braves. Despite breaking his hand in the NCAA Tournament, he competed in 49 games with the Braves. He hit .290 with eight doubles, two triples and 13 RBI's at the top of the Bourne lineup.

The Huskies were voted fourth by the American Athletic Conference coaches after winning the 2016 American Athletic Conference tournament in Clearwater, Fla. East Carolina was selected to win the league receiving six first place votes. Both Houston and Tulane picked up a first place vote and are picked to finish second and third respectively.

The Huskies open the season in Port St. Lucie, Fla. against UMass-Lowell on Friday, Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m.

 

2017 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL

 

 

 

 

Team (First-Place Votes)

Points

1.

East Carolina (6)

48

2.

Houston (1)

42

3.

Tulane (1)

35

4.

UConn

30

5.

Cincinnati

22

6.

USF

21

7.

UCF

13

 

Memphis

13

 

 

 

 

 

2017 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM    

Pos     Name                                 School         2016 Statistics

P             Tim Cate                                        UConn              5-1, 2.73 ERA, 82.1 IP, 101 K, 27 BB

P             Evan Kruczynski                          East Carolina  8-1, 2.01 ERA, 116.2 IP, 95 K, 27 BB

P             Seth Romero *                            Houston           6-4, 2.29 ERA, 94.1 IP, 113 K, 28 BB

P             Ross Massey                                Tulane              10-3, 2.29 ERA, 90.1 IP, 51 K, 18 BB

RP          Joe Ingle *                                    East Carolina  6-3, 3.59 ERA, 12 SV, 52.2 IP, 75 K

C            Travis Watkins                             East Carolina  .326, 7 HR, 44 RBI

1B          Hunter Williams                          Tulane              .294, 9 HR, 30 RBI

2B          Jake Willsey                                 Tulane              .265, 10 HR, 31 RBI

SS          Kevin Merrell                               USF                   .320, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 16 SB

3B          Willy Yahn                                    UConn              .319, 3 HR, 46 RBI, 7 SB

OF          Dwanya Williams-Sutton *       East Carolina  .360, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 7 SB

OF          Corey Julks *                               Houston           .332, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB

OF          Chris Carrier                                Memphis         .280, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 15 SB

DH         Joe Davis *                                  Houston           .331, 14 HR, 58 RBI

                                                                                                 

               * unanimous selection                                        

                                                                                                 

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR                

DH         Joe Davis                                      Houston           .331, 14 HR, 58 RBI

                                                                                                 

PRESEASON PITCHERS OF THE YEAR            

LHP       Tim Cate                                        UConn              5-1, 2.73 ERA, 82.1 IP, 101 K, 27 BB

LHP       Evan Kruczynski                          East Carolina  8-1, 2.01 ERA, 116.2 IP, 95 K, 27 BB

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