(WTNH)–A former UConn baseball player is getting ready for his fifth big league season, and perhaps his biggest role yet.

Matt Barnes, a former All-American pitcher for Jim Penders’ Huskies has become a key cog out of the bullpen for the Boston Red Sox.

Barnes is coming off career highs in appearances, innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts.

The former Bethel High standout was once a starter, but is beginning to thrive in a relief role.

“I’ve come to like the bullpen. You’re involved in almost every game, you’re throwing in critical high-stress situations, which is kind of what we live for,” Barnes said. “Especially if you do good, it’s fun, if you don’t, it’s not as fun.”

Barnes also had his lowest earned run average in 2017 (3.88).