Connecticut's Mason Feole (Kendall Rogers)


UConn’s Feole Regaining His Brilliance

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HOUSTON — Connecticut is glad to have junior lefthander Mason Feole back on Friday nights.

The Huskies have gradually worked Feole, the prized 6-foot-1, 194-pound, lefty, back into the weekend rotation after he missed the first couple of weeks of the season because of a shoulder strain he suffered back in January.

Feole worked three innings in his first start back against Illinois and allowed two runs in three innings. He tossed 4.1 shutout innings against Texas State, and once again, he wasn’t extended last weekend against Michigan State, where he struggled with command and allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings.

With American Conference play beginning this weekend at Houston, the Huskies desperately needed Feole to be back on his game, keep his pitch count low and give them a lengthier start. And he did all the above Friday night with an impressive performance in a 2-1 win over the Cougars.

“I thought he looked like himself,” UConn coach Jim Penders said. “Even in the first, when he had a rocky inning, I thought he was present in every pitch, and that was a step forward. There have been times the past few weeks where he was just kind of out there wrestling with his command, but not tonight.

“We’ve been really cautious and smart about bringing him back [from the shoulder strain],” Penders continued. “And in between these starts, until now, we weren’t doing what he normally does. I mean, when he pitches during the week, he’s out there blasting away. He lets it rip between outings. He’s gotten over the hump the last week and a half and he’s now letting it rip, you’re seeing the result of that.”

It’s not hard to see why Feole relies on a specific approach when it comes to preparation. When he’s on the mound, he’s always locked in and works with a fast and deliberate tempo. Hitters constantly are out of sync against him, and part of that buildup is going all out in the week leading up to his next start. So, when he was working back from that injury and not going all out in his training, Penders summed up his situation pretty well with a car reference.

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