Since game two of the season, North Carolina baseball first-year pitcher Caden O’Brien proved his value to the team, and now he's being recognized for it.
O'Brien was named a D1Baseball Freshman All-America second-teamer on Thursday for being a steady arm called upon often in tough situations from his first outting.
The left-hander began his UNC career striking out two batters while giving up no hits in one inning of relief against South Florida on February 17 — a solid start to his college career. Since then, he rode that performance all the way to being recognized as one of the best newcomers in the sport this season — an honor he earned all season.
When ace Gianluca Dalatri suffered an injury to his elbow in February, the whole season looked derailed. The Tar Heels' best pitcher was out for the foreseeable future and the young, largely untested arms needed to be solid to compensate from the loss on the mound.
Head coach Mike Fox’s program tumbled for a while after that, but it was players like O’Brien that helped the team muscle its way back towards the top.