The Central Connecticut baseball team was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll announced on Wednesday. The Blue Devils were 28-24 overall last season and 19-13 in NEC play, finishing in a tie for third and advancing to the NEC Tournament for the seventh straight season.
Bryant was picked to finish first and is in their first full season of eligibility in the league. The Bulldogs have finished first in the regular season standings in two of the last three seasons but have been ineligible for the conference tournament as they reclassified to Division I status.
Monmouth was picked third, and Sacred Heart, who has won two straight NEC title, was picked to finish fourth in the poll of the league coaches.
2013 NEC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Bryant (4)
2. CCSU (3)
3. Monmouth (1)
4. Sacred Heart (1)
5. LIU Brooklyn
(first place votes in paranthesis)
NEC PRESEASON COACHES POLL RELEASE
The Blue Devils are coming off a 28-24 season which saw them post a 15-6 home record but lose two straight in the NEC Tournament in May.
First Team All-Conference selections J.P. Sportman, a junior, and Tyler McIntyre, a senior, return to a potent offense that sees six of its top-10 hitters back in 2013. Sportman led the way batting .353 with a team-high 67 hits, 36 runs scored and 33 runs batted in. He hit seven home runs and had 23 extra-base hits.
McIntyre was the All-Conference pick at first base after an impressive junior campaign. He hit .291 with a team-high 10 home runs and 38 runs batted in. He added nine doubles and had 20 extra-base hit while slugghing .529.
Junior Dylan DelaCruz, a Second Team All-Conference pick as a sophomore, is also back after hitting .326 with 62 hits, 25 runs batted in and a team-high 19 doubles. He led the team with 24 extra-base hits.
On the mound Central returns 25 of its 28 wins from a season ago, including senior Jack Greenhouse (four wins) and the sophomore lefty duo of Casey Brown and Cody Brown who combined for 10 wins in their rookie seasons.
Sophomore Brendyn Karinchak added three wins, as did senior Nick Boyd. Add the return of junior righty Nick Neumann, who pitched 72.1 innings and won five games in 2011, and the Blue Devils will post one of the most formidable staffs in the league in 2013.
The Blue Devils open the 2013 season in just two weeks, heading to Navy for a four-game series on March 1-3. The first home game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 at 3 p.m. vs. UConn.