Huskies feature in the 2017 World Baseball Classic

Italy's Brandon Nimmo celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run against Venezuela during a World Baseball Classic game in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, March 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez)

Former University of Connecticut baseball players Greg Nappo and John Andreoli competed in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Both former Huskies’ nations were knocked out in the group stage with Nappo representing Colombia and Andreoli representing Italy.

Andreoli was a rare beam of light for an Italian team that only won one of four games in the tournament. Andreoli batted .316 with three home runs and seven RBI’s, which was good enough for second best in the tournament through the first round of play. The Cubs prospect had a breakout of sorts in the WBC garnering attention from Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon with a call to the majors possibly coming later this season.

The Cubs drafted Andreoli in 17th round as the 519th overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft, forgoing his senior season. The outfielder mainly played at the Triple-A level the past two seasons averaging .256 from the plate with 12 home runs in 2016. In his junior year at UConn Andreoli started in 66 games and recorded 83 hits and 41 runs in 262 at-bats.

Nappo played in two games for Colombia allowing no earned runs .2 innings. After his senior season Nappo was drafted by the Miami Marlins as a 553rd pick. Since then Nappo has moved throughout the Marlins farm system playing this past season in Triple-A with the New Orleans Baby Cakes. At UConn, the pitcher was the fourth player in UConn history to win 10 or more games in a season with a 10-3 record, ranked second on the career list with 25 career wins, held the program record for innings pitched at 311.1 and ranked fourth with 215 career strikeouts after his senior season in 2011.

Kevin Vance, another UConn baseball alum featured for the Philippines in the 2016 qualifiers but his team did not make it to the tournament after losing to Australia and New Zealand.

The tournament is currently in the championship round where the Netherlands will face off against Puerto Rico and the United States will face Japan.


Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at antonio.salazar@uconn.edu.