Leaning on a dugout railing Tuesday afternoon before the 934th game of his career, UConn baseball coach Jim Penders let his thoughts roam and his words retrace a university’s history. He mentioned the Storrs brothers, Charles and Augustus, who donated land and money toward the formation of Storrs Agricultural College in the early 1880s.

“All to create a college that was about making better farmers,” Penders said as his players began to warm up for a game at UMass. “Now our crops are these kids. If you want to be good at UConn, you have to wake up earlier than anybody, and you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty like those farmers. That’s really what it is. We’re now able to hold on to valedictorians and salutatorians, but it’s a place where blue collar work ethic will serve you well. Impressions of this state, people may think of prep schools, the Gold Coast, hedge fund managers, maybe the elite. Yet the university represents something that is the polar opposite. It is about hard work.”