The American Athletic Conference announced their 2019 coaches poll and preseason awards on Thursday, a list of accolades riddled with Huskies. UConn was selected to finish third in the conference by The American coaches, while pitcher Mason Feole was unanimously selected Preseason Pitcher of the year.
In addition to Feole, shortstop Anthony Prato (a unanimous decision) and reliever Jacob Wallace were also selected to the All-Conference Team.
“It is great to have our guys receive recognition from the coaches around our league through all their hard work,” head coach Jim Penders said.
Feole finished the team’s 2018 campaign with nine wins, a 2.50 ERA and 120 strikeouts, all marks leading the team. The Rhode Island native allowed opponents to hit just .220 against him, with a WHIP of 1.3, earning him a spot on the USA Collegiate National Team this summer.
This is Feole’s second major preseason accolade, the righty was named Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-American on December 17th.
Prato was a unanimous selection to the All-Conference team, fueled by his tremendous 2018 season. The shortstop hit .320 on the year, the best out of players returning to Storrs, with a .388 on-base percentage and a .406 slugging.
Wallace had a rapid rise this summer, which contributed to his selection to the team, working as a closer for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League.
The junior threw 10.2 innings this summer without allowing a single run, striking out 19 on the season while giving up just seven hits and five walks.
Wallace played the role of setup reliever for closer PJ Poulin in 2018, pitching 43.1 innings with a 3.95 ERA and 63 strikeouts, and should figure to take over Poulin’s position this year.
UConn received 52 points in the poll and one first place vote, narrowly trailing Houston with 55 and preseason favorite ECU with 60, but Penders said that the team shouldn’t let the lofty ranking get in their heads.
“The only polls and awards we are focused on will come at the end of the year,” Penders said.
Luke Swanson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.