UConn Legend - Baseball's Matt Barnes 2011 All American

Connecticut is right smack dab in the middle between New York City and Boston...When it comes to baseball, the rivalry of course is Red Sox-Yankees where Hartford is basically the Mason-Dixon Line. Bethel is definitely south and Matt Barnes grew up a fan of the Bronx Bombers....Where his dad took him to a few memorable postseason games...Game 1 of the 2000 Subway Series, The 2009 World Series and Game Seven of the ALCS...in 2004. And he'd end up playing for the team that beat his favorite, the Rival Red Sox....But there was a stop in Storrs first for the 6-4, 210lb right hander...

After a successful summer, UConn & Virginia had interest, UVa didn't have a scholarship available, as Jim Penders put it, "thank go we did." After an All State Senior Year at Bethel High School where Matt also played basketball, it was off to play with his Team CT Baseball AAU Teammate, George Springer..and the duo, with a little help from Mike Olt, Nick Ahmed, Mike Nemeth, Doug Elliott and a few others, would take UConn places it hadn't been in 30 years..On the verge of a College World Series...

In 2009, Barnes went 5-3 as a freshman with an era of 5.43...55 k's in 53 innings pitched. That included a 9 strikeout effort against Sacred Heart..In the Big East Championship Game in Clearwater, Barnes got the start and it wasn't pretty against Louisville. Six runs allowed in 3.1...But as they say, live and learn...Off to Wareham of the Cape Cod League to get seasoning with Springer. And it propelled Barnes to better things, along with the rest of the Huskies in 2010. A school record 48 wins, Barnes was an All Conference Selection with an 8-3 record with a much better 3.92 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 82+ innings. The Highlight a complete game two hitter against Cincinnati. But again, the post season was a struggle. Three innings, 6 runs and 8 hits allowed in a loss to Rutgers. But recovered nicely in the NCAA Norwich Regional against Oregon in their elimination game, going the first six in a tough 4-3 loss that ended the season.

Another Summer in the Cape and USA Baseball for Barnes...Playing on the National Team that played at the World University Championship that won a Silver Medal...A 3-0 record where he struck out 16 in 19ip...It set the stage for a fabulous 2011. Becoming just the third UConn Pitcher to win at least 10 games in a season. 11-3 with an ERA of 1.98 with a school record 117 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. That included an 11k performance against Minnesota, a 6k shutout against Pitt, 7k against St. John's and a late season 10k performance against USF. Earning him the Big East Pitcher of the Year..In the post season, a solid 8 in a win over Notre Dame at the Big East Tournament, followed by a tough effort against Coastal Carolina on day one of the NCAA's...Then in the Super Regional against South Carolina, battled against the defending champion Gamecocks....On the night of the Regional Final at Clemson along with Springer, Barnes was a first round draft pick. Going to the Red Sox with the 19th overall pick. And at Season's end, Barnes selected an All American by the ABCA, Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA...Jim Penders, "Just got better with every pitch. Powerful when he delivered. To this day, I've never heard a guy's back foot strike the mound when he uncoiled a pitch like his did. It was like a horse kicking the stall door."

Of course Barnes run thru the Red Sox Organization is well documented. Making the transition from starter to the bullpen as a relief pitcher. If the 2020 season ever begins, it'll be Matt's seventh with the Red Sox...A career 25-18 record with an era of 4.07 out of the pen. While striking out 407 in 314 career innings pitched for the Red Sox. And of course a key role out of the pen when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018. Striking out 10 in 10 innings of work with an 0.87 era. In January 2019, a season ring...of the Wedding Variety when he married his bride Chelsa...These days, Matt is also the Red Sox Player Rep for the MLBPA.

In 2013, Matt starting holding Clinics in Newtown for Elementary School Kids..And Matt has never forgotten where he came from...In fact, he came back to the program..Donating $50,000 to the new Elliot Ballpark. Where the home bullpen is named after him...Matt Barnes, forever a Connecticut Guy and a UConn Legend

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