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UConn Baseball Cleans Up AAC Baseball Individual Awards

The Huskies won four individual awards in addition to placing three players on the all-conference first team and five on the second team.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The UConn baseball team earned a few awards on Monday afternoon.

Joe DeRoche-Duffin earned the Player of the Year honor, while Anthony Kay took home Pitcher of the Year. Tim Cate was awarded Freshman Pitcher of the Year and for all of these individual players winning honors, head coach Jim Penders wasn't left out, as he received Coach of the Year Honors.

The Huskies also had Kay, DeRoche-Duffin and Willy Yahn on the All-Conference First Team, while Cate, Pat Ruotolo, Bobby Melley, Bryan Daniello and Jack Sundberg made the second team.

Despite DeRoche-Duffin's slow start, he turned it on and finished with impressive statistics. He finished with a slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) of .262/.381/.574, adding 17 home runs and 52 RBIs, both of which were good enough to lead the conference, in addition to his slugging percentage. He also was in the top 10 in the conference for both hit-by-pitches and walks. He was third in total bases with 116.

Kay, who was tabbed as the co-preseason pitcher of the year, was able to hold the honor by himself at the end of the season. Kay made 14 starts, pitching 98.1 innings. He had an ERA of 2.47 and a BAA of .211. He was third in innings pitched, ninth in ERA and fourth in BAA. He also finished third in strikeouts (97), which was good for 35th nationally. He was second in conference in getting batters to strike out looking (36). He was one off the conference lead. He was 98th nationally with a WHIP of 1.09.

Cate took home Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors, and did so while being one of the best pitchers of any age in the conference. He pitched 69.0 innings and had 86 strikeouts, for a K/9 of 11.22, which led the conference and was 20th in the country. The 86 strikeouts were good for fifth in the American and opponents only hit .193 against him, which was second in the conference. He allowed a conference-leading 48 hits. He also was 63rd in the country in WHIP, at 1.04. He was also named to the second team All-Conference.

Penders took home his fourth conference Coach of the Year Award, his first in the American. He led UConn to a 33-22 record, a team that is winners of nine straight and 20-7 in their last 27 games. The Huskies made seven comebacks in the eighth and ninth innings, with three of them coming in the ninth. UConn also did not surrender a lead when leading going into the ninth, going 30-0 in such situations.

As for the remaining member of the first All-Conference Team, Yahn led the conference in hits (76) and doubles (18), as well as being fifth in batting average (.326). He was 57th nationally in hits.

Ruotolo, a junior on the All-Conference second team, was tied for second in the conference with nine saves and had an ERA of 2.01. He also had a WHIP of 0.99.

Sundberg, a senior outfielder, was also on the second team last year. He led the team in steals (17), which was also good for sixth in the conference. He hit two grand slams this season, as well, finishing third on the team with five home runs. He also led the conference in runs (47).

Melley made the first team last year and was all over the top 10 in offensive categories. He was third in the conference in on-base percentage, second in runs, third in RBIs, third in walks, tied for sixth in hits, tied for fourth in doubles, sixth in home runs and ninth in slugging percentage.

Daniello, the senior shortstop, had a solid year for UConn. He had a slash line of .258/.336/.380 and played a sure handed shortstop. He was one of three to play in every game for the Huskies, and was one of two to start every game. He was second on the team with 10 steals.