Peabody High righthander Pat Ruotolo gave a verbal commitment this morning to the University of Connecticut for 2013, his coach Mark Bettencourt confirmed.
The 5-foot-10 Ruotolo caught national attention this past spring after throwing three no-hitters in a span of four starts. He finished the season as the state’s runner-up in strikeouts (130). In 76 innings of work, he went 8-1 with two saves, 31 hits allowed and 12 walks, for an ERA of 0.83, to earn Northeastern Conference MVP honors. He has 232 strikeouts since the start of his sophomore season, and over 300 for his career.
For his efforts, Rutolo was named a starting pitcher on ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team last month.
Ruotolo had varied interest locally from Division 1 and 2 schools, but Northeastern was the only other D1 school to offer him at this time. He also had considerable interest across the Division 2 Northeast-10 Conference, including Merrimack and Southern New Hampshire.
UConn is also the alma mater of Peabody pitching coach Peter Soteropoulos, a Peabody alum who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 40th round of the 2003 MLB Draft.
"We had a long talk yesterday about it when they made offer," Bettencourt said of Ruotolo's commitment. "I said to him, don’t rush into something just because you're excited and want it to be over. Let's go over the pros and cons, the other offers on the table, see if anyone chimes in late. He was very excited, so I told him to sleep on this, and if you still feel the same way when you wake up then make your decision.
"UConn, they're the beast of the east. They've had some real good teams the last couple of years. I played against [UConn head coach] Jim Penders in college [at Boston College], they're gonna have some good teams there next couple of years. For Pat it's win-win, he's gonna play like I did and Peter did in the Big East, stay close enough to his mother and father that they can still watch him, and get himself a great education. It's good on all fronts."