Left hander Connor O’Halloran has asserted himself as a reliable option in the Michigan Wolverines rotation in just his second college season.
He leads the team in starts (7), innings pitched (30 2/3), and strikeouts (40). His 4.11 ERA is fifth best. On March 17 he held the University of Dayton to one run on three hits over eight innings to help the Wolverines to a 2-1 victory. He struck out 13 and was later named the Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Week for the effort.
So you could say things are trending in the right direction for the former Ontario Terrier hurler.
And he’ll take another step in his baseball career this summer when he toes the rubber for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League. It’s a chance to pitch in the top summer league against some of the best college baseball players, many of which will hear their name called in the MLB Draft.
“The opportunity came through my head coach Erik Bakich,” O’Halloran said. “He let me know the plan for this summer at the beginning of the year and was able to get myself and two of my teammates on Hyannis.”
That’s high praise, and high expectations from the coach who led Michigan to within one win of the College World Series in 2019. The young southpaw knows he’ll be in tough, but it’s a challenge he’s relishing.
“The Cape has been synonymous with many great players over the years passing through on their way to the higher ranks of baseball,” he said. “I’m so excited for the opportunity I have ahead of me and I’m just hoping to give it my all out there when I have the chance.”
O’Halloran has grown up in a baseball family. Father Greg played 12 games for the Florida Marlins in 1994 and made stops in Tawain, Mexico and with the Canadian Olympic Team at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea. His brother, and former Terriers infielder Ryan, is currently an infielder with the Butler Bulldogs in the Big East Conference. Connor, a former Junior National Team member, knows a thing or two about competing at a high level.
“I think just playing with a lot of high end talent that I wouldn’t normally see anywhere else,” he said about what he’s looking forward to this summer. “There’s a ton of really great players all over the NCAA and I'm looking forward to seeing how I stack up against some of them. The league is obviously highly regarded and it feels surreal to have an opportunity to be part of it.”
As excited as he is for the summer to come, the priority remains bringing a College World Series back to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1962.
“We have a really talented mix of guys this year from freshman to seniors and even sixth years,” he said. “Heading into Big Ten play I think we’ve really started to settle in as a team and I expect us to have a lot of wins and competitive series. We’ve got some guys who’ve been injured hopefully coming back soon that will make a huge impact for us as a team. As exciting as the summer is to think about, I’m focused right now on being where my feet are at Michigan and winning games.”
Those feet might end up on a big league mound one day if his current development continues.
Photo courtesy of @umichbaseball Twitter