The 2010 and 2011 UConn Baseball Teams....The winningest years in UConn Baseball History...Mike Olt, Matt Barnes, George Springer, Nick Ahmed, Doug Elliott....And the list goes on and on...What about Kevin Vance ?? A native of California came east and found different ways to contribute at the plate and on the mound...
Vance came to UConn from Solana Beach, California where he starred at Torrey Pines High School..There was athletic DNA in the family as Big Brother was a star outfielder at Harvard and his sister swam at Michigan. In his Senior Year, he hit hit .452, had 35 hits (8HR) scored 35 runs while striking out 91 as a pitcher...Mind you he was a catcher mainly in high school. He was the last commitment of the class of Springer, Barnes, Ahmed, John Andreoli and Scott Oberg.. That first year in Storrs wasn't overly productive for Kevin, just 8 hits in 35 AB with 6 rbi...he played his Summer Ball in Montpelier, VT in the NECBL where he saw lots of time...and a .295 average in 31 games and a runner up finish didn't hurt...But it did bring confidence in his game and it would prove beneficial in 2010
2010 would see UConn win 48 games, including 22 straight in April...Vance was the DH most of the season. Where he hit .322 with 55 hits, 35 runs scored, 7 HR and 35 rbi that earned him Second Team All Big East Honors. He had a two homer game against UMass and a 3 hit game at West Virginia. Seeing limited time on the hill in 2009, Vance, who Jim Penders tells me had a high spin rate fastball before we really knew what spin rate was, made more of an impact in 2010, pitching in 17 games with a team high 8 saves and a 2.41 ERA...Got lots of swings and misses up in the zone too. His curveball was a classic 12 to 6 and his delivery had flair...Kevin would play in the Cape League with Chatam and really gain more confidence on the hill...a 3-1 record with 19k in 18ip and a 0.50 ERA.
The 2011 Season didn't start as fast for Jim Penders Huskies, but winning 9 of 10, followed by a 19 of 20 stretch, the Huskies were poised to do some post season damage....As they won the Big East Regular Season Crown...And a two seed in the Clemson Regional was just fine....But the Huskies needed to do it the hard way, coming out of the losers bracket...Vance, who set the single season saves record at 13, threw 29.2 innings in 2011 with a 2.12 ERA...Against Clemson with a 6-4 lead in the 9th, Vance gave up a pair of runs to tie the game at 6...But his mates had his back with the winning run in the bottom half to force a winner take all game which UConn won easily the next night...Vance named 3rd Team All Big East, a 2nd Team NCBWA All American and a 2nd Team NEIBA All Star...His 21 saves remains 2nd on the all time list at UConn..
Kevin was drafted by the White Sox in 2011...the 19th round...getting to AA Birmingham in 2014...In 2015 with the Diamondbacks organization, Vance played for both AA Mobile Bay and AAA Reno before a 2016 stint in the Atlantic League with both Long Island and New Britain. Today Vance and former standout pitcher David Fischer are the assistants to Raphael Cerrato at the University of Rhode Island...Where Kevin is in his 4th year as pitching coach.
Kevin Vance, made the transition from the plate to the the mound and became a UConn Legend