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AAC Baseball Annual Awards: Feole Wins Rookie Pitcher of the Year

Mason Feole becomes the second straight UConn pitcher to win the award and was one of six Huskies to make an all-conference team.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

It took freshman left-hander Mason Feole a few weeks to enter the weekend rotation, but once he did he made it count. The American Athletic Conference announced its annual baseball awards Monday with Feole taking home 2017’s Rookie Pitcher of the Year.

In 2016, fellow lefty Tim Cate won the same after earning the third slot in the rotation a month into the season.

Feole’s numbers were near the top of the American in multiple statistical categories, including his 3.10 ERA (sixth), seven wins (fifth), 72 strike-outs (ninth), and 31 runs allowed (seventh).

He allowed just one home run to lead the league and was seventh-best with runners on, holding hitters to a .244 batting average. He also started three of UConn’s four shutouts. The Rhode Island native was also named to the All-AAC first team along with Cate.

Cate was fourth in strikeouts (98), and strikeouts looking (29), fifth in ERA (2.94), tied for fifth in earned runs allowed (23) and 10th in hits allowed (70). He was also second in batting average against left-handed hitters (.184), sixth in batting average against with two outs (.214) and led the conference in batting average against with runners on base (.213).

The Huskies also had four selections for the all-conference second team in starting pitcher Wills Montgomerie, shortstop Anthony Prato, closer John Russell, and third baseman Willy Yahn.

Montgomerie led the conference in strikeouts (109) and was the only pitcher to eclipse 100. He was second in strikeouts looking (34) and seventh in batting average against right-handed hitters (.224).

Prato, a freshman, was tied for fifth in runs (44) and seventh in the conference in stolen bases (15), while having one of the better slash lines for the soft-hitting UConn squad at .282 AVG/.364 OBP/.360 SLG.

Russell served the Huskies as their closer, leading the conference in saves (14) and at times bailed a bullpen out that had been struggling. He struck out 15.8 batters per nine innings and allowed a .198 batting average against.

Yahn (.316/.379/.415) led UConn in batting average and was one of the Huskies’ most consistent hitters, notching 17 multi-hit games. He also had the Huskies’ second-longest hitting streak, at 14 games.

UConn and Houston were tied for the most selections between the two teams at six each.