The Central Connecticut baseball team collected two first-place votes and was picked second in the Northeast Conference preseason coaches' poll it was announced on Friday. The Blue Devils were slotted behind preseason favorite, Bryant.
Central has won four NEC titles and will be looking to return to the top of the league in 2017. The Blue Devils return a pair of standouts who earned all-conference honors last season. Senior Andrew Hinckley was named All-NEC First Team at pitcher after going 8-4 with a 3.73 ERA. At the plate, Hinckley batted .283 and hit three homeruns. Junior Dean Lockery also earned All-NEC First Team honors. He started all 57 games and hit .344 with 32 runs scored and 21 RBIs.
Bryant, which has won five straight NEC regular season titles, collected five first-place votes and was named the preseason favorite. Sacred Heart was picked third, followed by Fairleigh Dickenson. Wagner, LIU Brooklyn and Mount St. Mary's rounded out the poll. The top four finishers in the NEC regular season qualify for the NEC Tournament which will return to Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT.
CCSU is coming off a 23-34 season in 2016. The Blue Devils finished fourth in the NEC and qualified for the league tournament with a 15-17 mark.