The preseason coaches’ poll for 2017 American Athletic Conference baseball season was announced on Wednesday. Like last year, the Huskies were selected to finish fourth by the coaches.
“All that matters now is to continue our work to finish as high as possible in the 2017 postseason poll, that’s the one that matters,” Head Coach Jim Penders said.
The Huskies earned 30 points, 18 behind favorite East Carolina, who took home six of the eight first-place votes. Houston (42 points) and Tulane (35 points) each received a vote for the top spot and sit at second and third, respectively.
Cincinnati (22 points) and USF (21 points) are neck-and-neck for the fifth spot, with UCF and Memphis tied for seventh place at 13 points.
Additionally, multiple Husky players earned preseason individual honors.
Sophomore pitcher Tim Cate and junior third baseman Willy Yahn each were named to the all-conference first team, with Cate being honored as co-preseason pitcher of the year with ECU senior Evan Kruczynski.
This is the second consecutive year that a UConn pitcher has been tabbed with the honor as Anthony Kay earned it last season, sharing it with Houston’s Seth Romero.
Cate was the freshman pitcher of the year and was a Louisville Slugger freshman All-American after a great campaign. He recorded 101 strikeouts, just the sixth UConn pitcher to hit that mark. He also led the conference in batting average against (.188).
“I am proud of Tim’s and Willy’s past performance and current preparation, Penders said. “The preseason accolades for them are well-deserved.”
Yahn, who was voted a captain for this season, led the conference last year in hits (88) and was in the top-10 in a litany of categories, including batting average (.319), runs (48) and doubles (20).
UConn has less than two months until they get underway in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where they have a four-game series with UMass-Lowell beginning on February 17.