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The UConn Fast Break - 6/17/2022
The 2021-22 athletic year has come to an end.
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UConn baseball falls in Stanford Super Regional
After impressively winning the College Park Regional, UConn baseball’s season has come to an end after the Huskies lost the Stanford Super Regional to No. 2 Stanford in three games. UConn advanced to Super Regional play for the first time since 2011 and just the second time in the program’s history since the round was added in 1999.
In Game 1, the visitors ambushed Stanford for eight runs in the second inning and held on to its lead for a 13-12 win, despite a six-run Cardinal ninth that left the tying tally on first base. However, the bats went quiet afterward as a result of a premium pitching staff in the other dugout, with just four hits in Game 2 and a 3-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position in Game 3.
This closed a historic season for UConn, which broke the 50-win plateau for the first time in program history. The Huskies swept the Big East regular-season and tournament titles for the second consecutive year after returning to the league.
The future looks bright, with the emergence of redshirt freshman shortstop Bryan Padilla and true freshman Ian Cooke on the mound, but the team will look much different in 2023. There were five graduate students or fifth-year seniors on the 2022 roster, as well as nine more seniors or redshirt juniors. They represent six of the nine players in the starting lineup for Game 3 of the Stanford Super Regional, two of UConn’s weekend starters, and its closer.
Huskies eliminated by No. 2 Stanford - UConn’s bid to return to Omaha ended in the Stanford Super Regional. The Huskies jumped on the Cardinal in Game 1 with an eight-run second, but struggled with the bats in Game 2 and Game 3.
Joey Calcaterra commits - A 6-foot-3 guard by way of San Diego, Calcaterra is a graduate transfer. There are two more scholarships remaining.
Offseason updates - The freshmen have come to campus and a date with Florida is on the docket, among other news.
Aaliyah Edwards invited to Canada’s U-23 training camp - The camp begins next week and Edwards is one of 15 invitees.
What we know about UConn’s schedule - The majority of the Huskies’ 2022-23 non-conference slate is becoming clearer.
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TC Simmons plays a great center field for UConn and robbed this home run to keep Sunday’s Game 2 of the Stanford Regional a one-run contest. It was No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays the following day.
Five years ago this week, four UConn baseball players were selected in the MLB Draft, held from June 12-14.
Closer John Russell, who set the school’s saves record in 2017 with 14, struck out 66 hitters in just 38 innings with a .196 batting average against. That merited a 16th-round selection by San Francisco, which had picked Pat Ruotolo, the Huskies’ ninth-inning man in 2016, the year prior. Russell currently has 28 strikeouts in 21 innings for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the organization’s Double-A affiliate.
Wills Montgomerie, who last pitched in 2019, also made it to Double-A after being selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round, with a career 4.25 ERA in 165 1/3 innings, pitching in a swingman role, with 16 starts in 46 appearances.
Though he was cut in advance of the 2022 season, Willy Yahn made it the closest to the major leagues, with 41 at-bats at the Triple-A level in the Baltimore organization, which picked him in the 25th round. Providing organizational depth, the infielder played for all four of Baltimore’s full-season affiliates in 2021 and had a career .263/.302/.352 slash line over 985 at-bats.
Swingman Doug Domnarski was the final pick, going in the 27th round to Miami. Pitching in short-season ball for both the Marlins and Detroit organizations, between 2017 and 2019, the right-hander had a 2.12 ERA in 46 2/3 career innings.
UConn, Great Pic
Scenes from the UConn dugout after Zach Bushling’s home run brought the Huskies to within five in the middle innings of Game 3 in the Stanford Super Regional.
As a northern school, UConn baseball faces a litany of structural disadvantages not experienced by the schools that frequently go deep in the NCAA Tournament, including weather, intense travel schedules, plus local institutional investment and talent.
Typically, teams on the northeast side of Virginia do not even get at-large bids, let alone advance in the tournament, due to weak records and low RPI figures. UConn has been the exception. Schools north of the Mason-Dixon line have secured nine at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament since 2010, four of which were by Jim Penders’ squad. A program from the northeast hadn’t made a Super Regional since Boston College in 2016. The Huskies’ two Super Regional appearances account for 40 percent of the region’s Regional victories in that time frame, as well.
It’s really difficult to be nationally relevant on a consistent basis in the northeast, but Penders has worked magic to lead his team to eight of the past 12 NCAA Tournaments, including the last four, figures unmatched by his regional peers.
A team from the northeast hasn’t made the College World Series since Stony Brook in 2012, but UConn is the favored program to break that 10-tournament streak with Penders on the bench. The sparkling new ballpark on the southwest side of campus should give UConn more home games as well as the ability to recruit better and enjoy more fan interest.
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