What started off as a day of nervous excitement quickly became despair as UConn Baseball was not selected to the NCAA Tournament on Monday.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t earn it,” Jim Penders said. “We didn’t do enough, myself included.”
UConn finished 14-10 in the American Athletic Conference, good for third place in the country’s fourth-best conference by RPI and just a game back of first.
“Winning 14 games in the fourth-best conference in the regular season is something to be proud of,” Penders said. “We can build on it.”
The Huskies got 54 regular season games in and played in four American Athletic Conference tournament games. Forty of those contests were played away from J.O. Christian Field, among the most in the country.
UConn had already played 25 times when they played their first home game and had traveled over 17,000 miles since the start of their season. The Huskies were listed second on the first four out.
“They don’t calculate that you’re back at three in the morning every single Monday of the semester and gone 51 of 82 days,” Penders said. “I wish they could give that a little more consideration.”
Those 54 regular season games were just two under the maximum allowed of 56. They had three rainouts, two of which came against quality opponents in Yale and Boston College where a makeup could not be scheduled. They also had to add a late game against Quinnipiac.
Aaron Fitt of D1 Baseball found the snub to be particularly noteworthy.
“The committee wound up omitting our last three [projected] in (UConn, Old Dominion and Gonzaga) in favor of our first three out (A&M, St. John’s and Maryland). And we don’t have any huge objection to that — as we said, all six of them are worthy.
“But we thought Connecticut was a fairly easy call to get in based on its 14-10 record in the No. 4 RPI conference, its No. 38 RPI as a Northern team and its respectable 17-18 record against the top 50 (which blows away Maryland’s 10-11 mark, for instance).”
The Huskies finish the season at 33-25 and will now disperse until the fall. Some have MLB Draft aspirations, some will be tuning their skills with summer baseball and others have exhausted their eligibility and will be starting their post-baseball lives.