A little competition at the ballpark is never a bad thing.
To open up the fall, The UConn baseball team will host its annual Alumni Game on Sunday, Sept. 25 at Elliot Ballpark. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. This game is a chance for former players to come back to Storrs and celebrate their past accomplishments with their lifelong Husky family.
The matchup will be UConn’s current players against the alumni. As of right now, not all participating alumni are known. Some confirmed alumni that will be competing in Sunday’s game are Chris Winkel, Willy Yahn, Paul Gozzo, Zac Susi, Kenneth Haus, Jeffrey Kersten, Joe Simeone, Cole Chudoba and David Langer.
All of these players contributed to the Huskies in different ways and made their mark on UConn history. Here’s a little information about what each alumni player accomplished during their time at Storrs.
Winkel was team captain of the Huskies for three seasons (2019-2021) and was named All-Big East First Team in 2021. The catcher finished his UConn career with the most games played by any player in program history with 243 games.
In the 2017 MLB draft, Yahn was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 25th round with the 758th overall pick. He is currently playing for the Norfolk Tides in the Triple-A Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Yahn spent three seasons with the Huskies from 2015-2017. In 2017, he was awarded the Hirschhorn Foundation Award for displaying mental toughness and dealing with adversity. The third baseman finished 14th in program history with 207-career hits and was named Second Team-All Conference in 2017.
In the 2018 MLB Draft, Susi was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 18th round with the 354th overall pick. In 2021, Susi played for the Bradenton Marauders, the Single-A Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The catcher played at UConn from 2016-2018 before getting drafted. In 2018 he was named team captain, he also led the team with a .335 batting average, a 429 on-base percentage and 30 walks. He always won various titles of NCAA Conway Regional All-Tournament Team, Second Team All-New England, and Second Team American Athletic Conference all in 2018.
Right-handed pitcher Haus played for the Huskies for two seasons (2020-2021). He appeared in the second most games with the Huskies with 22 appearances and one start in 2021.
Kersten was a right-handed pitcher for the Huskies from 2018-2019. In 2019, he went 5-4 in 16 starts and 19 appearances.
Right-handed pitcher Simeone played for the Huskies from 2018-2021. In the 2021 Big East Championship against Xavier, Simeone notably allowed no runs over 2.1 innings out of the bullpen.
Chudoba was a grad transfer so he only played for the Huskies during the 2022 season. He appeared in the Game 2 of the 2022 Super Regionals against No. 2 Stanford, allowing only one run through 5.2 innings.
Langer was an infielder for UConn from 2019-2021. Over 31 games, Langer hit .299 with four doubles, two homers, nine RBIs and 12 runs scored with 22 starts in the 2021 season.
This year, the alumni are returning to Elliot Ballpark ready to win. Although, in last year’s game, the 2021 Huskies defeated the alums 8-0.
Ahead of last year’s game, the Huskies honored their 2020 seniors who missed out on their true Senior Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic cutting their season short. The players that were acknowledged were Cole Brodnansky, Michael Chiovitti, Paul Gozzo, Anthony Nucerino and Conor Moriarty.
In addition, The UConn coaching staff gave out their annual team awards. Kyler Fedko was awarded the Lawrence Panciera MVP, Caleb Wurster received both the James Allen Pitching award and the Dee Rowe Scholar honor. Both Chris Winkel and Erik Stock took home the Mrs. Mary Dropo Unsung Hero award. Lastly, for overcoming adversity, Randy Polonia earned the Hirschorn award.
The Alumni Game is an event that UConn Baseball values, as they’ve been hosting it for many years prior. Bringing the Husky family back together makes for all the memories to come flooding back. It’s special to see all the continued support that the alumni have for the rising program. That support will carry on with another continuation of the tradition this Sunday.