Coastal ace Connolly signs free agent pact with Astros

Coastal Carolina pitcher Ryan Connolly (Charleston/Bishop England HS) has signed a free agent contract with the Houston Astros. His immediate assignment within the organization has yet to be determined.

Connolly etched his named in the NCAA, Big South and Coastal Carolina record books after an impressive four-year career with the Chanticleers that included:

* 139 career pitching appearance ranks 5th on the NCAA, shattering the previous CCU and Big South record of 117
* 2.231 career ERA is a Big South record and CCU Division I era record (second on the school’s all-time career list)

* 25 career saves is third on the CCU all-time list and fourth in Big South history

* 250 innings pitched is 17th on the CCU all-time list

* 208 career strikeouts is 13th on the CCU all-time list

* Being the Big South leader in saves in 2012 and 2013

* Being a four-time Big South leader in appearances, including a CCU and Big South record 40 in 2010

* Ranking second in the league in ERA in ’12 and third in ’13

Connolly was a three-time, second team All-Big South selection and the 2012 Big South Tournament co-MVP with teammate Aaron Burke. In his career, Connolly inherited 131 base runners and only 29 scored, including just three of 31 in 2013.

This past season, Connolly led the league with 11 saves, ranking 40th in the NCAA, and 32 appearances. Moreover, he ranked third in the Big South in ERA (2.11) – ranking 56th in the NCAA, fifth in the league opponent batting average (.211) and 57th in the NCAA in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched (6.78) and ranked 12th (only Big South non-starter in the top 12) in batters struck out (69).

In the NCAA, he finished the season ranked 44th in the NCAA in WHIP (1.0) and 150th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.45). In Big South Conference games, Connolly was 4-1 with a 1.01 ERA and a conference-best six saves. He was a Big South Pitcher of the Week once and was on the NCBWA Mid-season “Stopper of the Year” watch list.

In 2013, Connolly was 6-2 with 11 saves and a 2.11 ERA. He pitched 81.0 innings in 32 games, walking 20 and striking out 69 with a .211 opponent batting average. For his career, Connolly posted a 2.23 ERA in 130 appearances. He was 14-7 with 25 saves. In 250.1 innings, he walked just 66 with 208 strikeouts.

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