Baseball: Huskies in thick of pennant race through two months

The Huskies took on Memphis on April 7, 2017, the Huskies beat Memphis 6-2. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

As is tradition the UConn men’s baseball team started their season off with a string of games away from home. Due to the weather in the Northeast the Huskies will typically play their first couple of months on the road or at neutral sites.

This year the weather in Connecticut forced the team to reschedule their home opener three times before finally playing their first home game April 5 against Hartford. This was the latest UConn had opened a season at home since 1994.

Despite being away from home, the Huskies went 16-9 to start the season, including a 3-0 sweep on the road of American Athletic Conference rival East Carolina, who was ranked at the time.

Since the home opener, UConn has had success at home going 7-2 with a sweep over Memphis. After the strong start, however, the Huskies have not been able to continue their early season performances on the road going 1-9.

First-year players have been key for the Huskies so far this season. Freshman pitcher Mason Feole has gotten his college career off to a great start going 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA, which is fourth best in the conference.

Freshman Anthony Prato and transfer Isaac Feldstein have also been crucial for the Huskies at the plate. After a red hot start, Prato has cooled down at the plate of late, but still ranks third on the team in with a .296 batting average. Feldstein has brought some much needed power with five home runs and 32 RBI.

Other Huskies that have had notable performances this year are juniors Wills Montgomerie and Willy Yahn. Montgomerie leads the conference in strikeouts with 90, surpassing his career-high. Despite some injury issues earlier in the season, Yahn now leads the team with a .323 batting average. The third baseman has led UConn in this category for the last two seasons.

Zac Susi, a catcher who struggled at times in his freshman season in which he batted .250 with just 21 RBI, has been a breakout player in his sophomore campaign, batting a much improved .321 with two home runs and a team-leading 35 RBI.

The catcher added a great deal of muscle over the off-season and will be expected to continue his stellar play in the home stretch of the season. His durability and ability to last through a whole season this year will be critical to the team’s success after some late-season struggles last year.

The Huskies are currently in a five-way tie atop the American with a 9-6 record at with nine games left in conference play. After a three-game series at Houston this weekend, UConn is in prime position to take the regular season conference crown. The Huskies will conclude their regular season with a nine-game homestand that includes welcoming two conference rivals to J.O. Christian Field.

UConn is the defending champions of the American Athletic Conference Championship, having made an unlikely run through the bracket to claim an NCAA bid last season. The Huskies will look to repeat that magic this season.


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