WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University freshman centerfielder Liam O'Connor of Avon, Conn., has been selected as the 2013 University Athletic Association Baseball Rookie of the Year, sharing the honors with Emory's Paul Merolla. In addition, O'Connor was a second-team All-UAA outfielder. He was joined on the All-UAA second team by sophomore Kyle Brenner of Brookfield, Mass., who was selected as an infielder.
O'Connor is the fifth Brandeis player to earn UAA Rookie of the Year honors and the first since Tony Deshler '12 in 2008. O'Connor was one of only two players on the Judges to play all 36 games this season. He batted .321 on the season, second on the squad, while leading Brandeis with 44 base hits and 18 RBI. His 16 runs scored were third on the team. O'Connor also had six doubles and a triple for a .380 slugging percentage. O'Connor hit safely in his final seven games and 10 of his last 11, raising his average 22 points in the process. He was second on the Judges to Brenner with 11 multi-hit games, including a team-high five contests with three or more hits.
Brenner was named an All-UAA infielder, though he was equally valuable for the Judges as a pitcher. At the plate, Brenner led the Judges with a .330 batting average, a .440 slugging percentage, 12 multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games. He tied with O'Connor for the team lead with 18 RBI. He also tied for the team lead with eight doubles and one home run and was second with a .374 on-base percentage.
On the hill, Brenner was twice named UAA Pitcher of the Week. After losing his first five decisions, he rallied to win his last four, tied with two others for the team lead, as all three compiled 4-5 records. Brenner also tied for the team lead with four complete games and 48 strikeouts, while his two shutouts and two saves were also team-highs. Brenner posted a 3.41 earned-run average in 66 innings, both second among Brandeis's primary starters.
Overall this season, Brandeis finished with a 15-21 record, nearly doubling their win total from 2013. The Judges ended the season on a hot streak, winning five of their last six and six of nine.
O'Connor is a 2013 graduate of Avon High School. He is the son of Tom and Dawn O'Connor, Avon, Conn.
Brenner is a 2010 graduate of St. Peter-Marian and 2011 graduate of Deerfield Academy. He is the son of Kerry and Jodi Brenner, Deerfield, Mass.