The best of UConn baseball

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Mike Olt was the UConn shortstop during his freshman year in 2008 and at the start of the 2009 season. During the 2009 season he got hurt and missed a number of games, at which point freshman Nick Ahmed took over at shortstop. When Olt returned from his injury, he was moved to 3B with Ahmed remaining at SS. That Olt started out at SS before moving to 3B to keep Ahmed in the lineup at SS gives an idea of Olt's defensive ability, that he was good enough to play a solid shortstop for UConn as well.

While I had been periodically listening to UConn baseball games on WHUS since the middle of the 2000 decade, the injury and move of Olt from SS to 3B is one of my first real memories of UConn baseball, and it is right at the start of my blossoming obsession with UConn baseball over the next several seasons.
 
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Mike Olt was the UConn shortstop during his freshman year in 2008 and at the start of the 2009 season. During the 2009 season he got hurt and missed a number of games, at which point freshman Nick Ahmed took over at shortstop. When Olt returned from his injury, he was moved to 3B with Ahmed remaining at SS. That Olt started out at SS before moving to 3B to keep Ahmed in the lineup at SS gives an idea of Olt's defensive ability, that he was good enough to play a solid shortstop for UConn as well.

While I had been periodically listening to UConn baseball games on WHUS since the middle of the 2000 decade, the injury and move of Olt from SS to 3B is one of my first real memories of UConn baseball, and it is right at the start of my blossoming obsession with UConn baseball over the next several seasons.
To be honest, it was more so that Ahmed earned the spot. The kid just worked harder than anyone from the day he stepped on the campus and the Coaches have always relayed that message. Not taking anything away from Mike because he was just an absolute stud but his freshman class came in to the 2008 season without many real established starting roles filled from 2007. The 2007 class graduated a lot of 2-3 year starters with the likes of Mike Untiet, Larry Day and Dennis Donovan and there weren't many guys who had solidified roles coming out of 2007. So that 2008 spring, I think the majority of the guys in the lineup were freshman and sophomores. Mike was the best athlete and like you see in little league, was defaulted to SS with Pat Mahoney at 3rd. So when Mike when out in 2009 and forced Nick into the lineup, he took it and ran with it and it was an easy decision to flip Mike to 3rd. Which worked well for him because a corner spot was his more projectable position to pro ball anyway.
 
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To be honest, it was more so that Ahmed earned the spot. The kid just worked harder than anyone from the day he stepped on the campus and the Coaches have always relayed that message. Not taking anything away from Mike because he was just an absolute stud but his freshman class came in to the 2008 season without many real established starting roles filled from 2007. The 2007 class graduated a lot of 2-3 year starters with the likes of Mike Untiet, Larry Day and Dennis Donovan and there weren't many guys who had solidified roles coming out of 2007. So that 2008 spring, I think the majority of the guys in the lineup were freshman and sophomores. Mike was the best athlete and like you see in little league, was defaulted to SS with Pat Mahoney at 3rd. So when Mike when out in 2009 and forced Nick into the lineup, he took it and ran with it and it was an easy decision to flip Mike to 3rd. Which worked well for him because a corner spot was his more projectable position to pro ball anyway.
Before I posted my previous message, I looked at some box scores from the 2009 season. Before Olt got hurt, Ahmed wasn't an every day player, but he was getting playing time at 3B. As a freshman, Ahmed was in the playing mix at the start of the season, and that says something right there. What Ahmed did while playing shortstop after Olt got hurt kept him in the lineup. Like Willy Yahn several years later, when Ahmed got a chance to play regularly and show what he could do at a key defensive position, he made such an impression that the coaching staff wasn't going to take him out of the lineup.
 
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A nice bonus, Coach Penders talking through his picks. Penders talking baseball is always a bonus. Penders says he has more than ten moments that he is going to talk about, and he isn't going to rank them. Come to think about it, Penders may be raising the bar for when Chris Jones comes up with his picks on his favorite games the he has broadcasted.
 
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Coach Penders picked this series against Notre Dame as a top moment as it was the first big sign during his tenure of UConn Nation paying close attention to UConn baseball. As Penders put it, fans had the field surrounded.

As for me, my first real notice of UConn baseball was when WHUS carried UConn baseball's games in the Big East tourney in 2006. It may have been the first baseball games WHUS had carried in several years. At the time I would listen to any UConn game that WHUS would carry. WHUS started carrying a number of UConn home baseball games in 2007. I do recall that I was somewhat disappointed when UConn baseball didn't make the Big East tourney in 2008, but that might have been because there were no more UConn games to listen to on WHUS for that particular school year. While I listened to any baseball game that WHUS carried during this time period, any feeling or knowledge that I had of UConn baseball was still pretty shallow prior to the 2010 season. Starting with 2010, my interest in UConn baseball started to ramp up, which also coincided with WHUS carrying more and more games, including covering some road trips.
 
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Coach Penders picked this series against Notre Dame as a top moment as it was the first big sign during his tenure of UConn Nation paying close attention to UConn baseball. As Penders put it, fans had the field surrounded.

As for me, my first real notice of UConn baseball was when WHUS carried UConn baseball's games in the Big East tourney in 2006. It may have been the first baseball games WHUS had carried in several years. At the time I would listen to any UConn game that WHUS would carry. WHUS started carrying a number of UConn home baseball games in 2007. I do recall that I was somewhat disappointed when UConn baseball didn't make the Big East tourney in 2008, but that might have been because there were no more UConn games to listen to on WHUS for that particular school year. While I listened to any baseball game that WHUS carried during this time period, any feeling or knowledge that I had of UConn baseball was still pretty shallow prior to the 2010 season. Starting with 2010, my interest in UConn baseball started to ramp up, which also coincided with WHUS carrying more and more games, including covering some road trips.
I was asleep at the switch for 2006 which is too bad since I lived in Coventry CT at the time which was only 10 minutes away. I started following the team in the 70's. I remember UConn being in the CWS in 1979. Randy Lavigne grew up a few blocks from me and remember him as a star even as a 12 year old. I didn't start following them closely until 2010. The traffic getting to Dodd Stadium that Friday night of the regionals was unbelievable. I parked somewhere on the access road and walked to the stadium. I have been a fan again ever since.
 

hardcorehusky

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I started following them in the 70's as well. Larry Panciera was a great coach and Colin McLaughlin was the fireballer who I believe got them to the World Series where they lost to Greg Swindell and Texas.

When I went to UConn, I spent much time at WHUS and got to broadcast some really good games - especially the late night win against Georgetown at Muzzy Field the night before graduation. I got to see Frank Viola and St Johns play Seton Hall who had Craig Biggio and Mo Vaughn.
 
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I started following them in the 70's as well. Larry Panciera was a great coach and Colin McLaughlin was the fireballer who I believe got them to the World Series where they lost to Greg Swindell and Texas.

When I went to UConn, I spent much time at WHUS and got to broadcast some really good games - especially the late night win against Georgetown at Muzzy Field the night before graduation. I got to see Frank Viola and St Johns play Seton Hall who had Craig Biggio and Mo Vaughn.
I believe Velentin was a teammate at that time as well. I lived across the street from Muzzy Field for a year. I could hear the cheers for football and baseball games. Brings back memories of the bar Chippy's which was just down the street.
 

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