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Huskies Picked Second in American Preseason Poll

Dec. 21, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The American Athletic Conference announced its preseason awards and poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches, on Thursday. The Huskies have been picked to finish second (50 points) in the nine-team league.

Left-handed pitcher Tim Cate, catcher Zac Susi and shortstop Anthony Prato all landed spots on the preseason all-conference team with Cate and Susi being voted on unanimously by the coaches.

The Huskies received three first-place votes, second most to preseason conference favorite, Houston (59 points, 5 first-place votes). UConn finished just ahead of 2017 co-regular season champion UCF (49 points), ECU (45 points) and USF (43 points, one first-place vote).

The Huskies (33-25) finished the 2017 season in third place in the American with a 14-10 conference record. UConn is set to return seven position players that played 45 games or more, two weekend starters and six pitchers that appeared in at least 12 games.

Cate earns a spot on the preseason all-conference team after garnering American Athletic Conference First Team honors in 2017. Cate finished the season with 102 strikeouts, becoming the first UConn pitcher in program history to strike out 100 batters or more in multiple seasons. In his sophomore season, he collected his 200th career strikeout, the 11th pitcher to accomplish the feat.


 

 

The junior competed with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team for the second-consecutive summer and led the team with 20 strikeouts in 12 innings of work and recorded a 0.75 ERA in international competition.

Susi was the most clutch player in the Husky lineup in 2017, leading the team with 15 RBIs from the seventh inning on. The UConn backstop hit .286  and was second on the squad with 61 hits. The Southington, Conn. native recorded nine doubles, two triples, two home runs and was second on the team with 40 runs batted in. Behind the plate, Susi threw out 15 baserunners attempting to steal during his sophomore year.

The junior comes off a CCBL All-Star season with the Bourne Braves this past summer, helping to lead the Braves to the CCBL Championship Series.

Prato lands on the preseason all-conference team after securing Freshman All-American honors in 2017 (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA). The Husky shortstop was an American Athletic Conference Second Team member in 2017 after leading the Huskies with 69 hits, 50 runs, .376 on-base percentage and 15 stolen bases.

The Staten Island, N.Y. native closed out his freshman campaign with a torrid stretch in the postseason, recording 10 hits (.611 Avg), scoring six runs, seven RBIs and three extra-base hits in the American Athletic Conference Championship, to land a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

UConn begins their 2018 season on Friday, February 16 at Kennesaw State at 4 p.m. American Conference play begins on the road at USF on Friday, March 23. All games throughout the 2018 season can be heard on 91.7 FM WHUS/ whus.org.

2018 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL

                               

 

Team (First-Place Votes)

Points

1.

Houston (5)

59

2.

UConn (3)

50

3.

UCF

49

4.

ECU

45

5.

USF (1)

43

6.

Wichita State

29

7.

Memphis

19

8.

Tulane

18

9.

Cincinnati

12

                               

2018 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM          

Pos    Name                                   2017 Statistics

P      Joe Sheridan  - UCF             10-4, 3.25 ERA, 72.0 IP, 64 K

P      Tim Cate - UConn                           4-3, 3.33 ERA, 75.2 IP, 102 K

P      Trey Cumbie * - Houston      10-2, 2.04 ERA, 101.1 IP, 82 K

P      Shane McClanahan * - USF    4-2, 3.20 ERA, 76.0 IP, 104 K

P      Peter Strzelecki - USF        3-4, 2.42 ERA, 67.0 IP, 62 K

RP     Bryce Tucker * - UCF                       2-2, 1.66 ERA, 9 SV, 38.0 IP, 55 K

C      Zac Susi * - UConn                         .286, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 9 2B, 2 3B

1B     Rylan Thomas - UCF             .303, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 11 2B, .530 SLG

2B     Matthew Mika - UCF            .278, 0 HR, 28 RBI, 12 2B, 25 SB

SS     Anthony Prato - UConn                  .303, 1 HR, 33 RBI, 10 2B, 14 SB

3B     Alec Bohm - Wichita State    .305, 11 HR, 40 RBI, 13 2B, 2 3B, 5 SB

OF     Tyler Webb - Memphis       .305, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 16 2B

OF     Duke Stunkel - USF            .344, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 16 2B

OF     Grant Witherspoon  - Tulane      .299, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 10 2B, 10 SB

OF     Greyson Jenista - Wichita State .320, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 14 2B, 6 SB

                                               

                * unanimous selection                 

                                               

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR           

1B        Rylan Thomas         UCF     .303, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 11 2B, .530 SLG

                                                                               

PRESEASON PITCHER OF THE YEAR         

LHP        Trey Cumbie      Houston  10-2, 2.04 ERA, 101.1 IP, 82 K

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