The Northeast Conference announced the 2019 Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll on Friday, with Central Connecticut being tabbed sixth in the poll. The league's head coaches voted in the poll and were not able to vote for their own squad.
The Blue Devils are slated to open the 2019 season with a three-game series at home against Massachusetts. The teams are scheduled to play single games on Friday, Feb. 22; Saturday, Feb. 23; and Sunday, Feb. 24.
CCSU is coming off an 18-28 campaign, but will return a group of key contributors. On the mound, Central returns seniors Mike Appel and Jared Gallagher, along with junior Brandon Fox. Appel earned All-NEC honors as a sophomore and has started 35 games in his first three seasons, recording nine wins and posting a 3.94 earned run average. Gallagher was also an All-NEC pick as a sophomore and owns a 10-3 record with 11 saves and a 3.76 ERA in 46 career outings. Fox made nine starts as a sophomore and was named NEC Pitcher of the Week after tossing 9.0 scoreless innings against LIU Brooklyn.
The Blue Devils lineup will have juniors Buddy Dewaine, Chandler Debrosse and Chris Kanios, as well as sophomores TT Bowens, Peyton Stephens and Jake Siracusa. Dewaine started all 46 games last season and batted .285 with 24 RBIs and 21 runs scored. Debrosse missed nearly two months, but managed to post a .391 batting average in 15 games. Kanios played in 40 games and hit four homeruns and stole a team-high nine bases. Bowens returns after missing most of last season. As a freshman he earned NEC Tournament MVP after helping the Blue Devils to the 2017 NEC championship. Stephens batted .301 as a rookie and drove in 23 runs with four homers. Siracusa played in 41 games in 2018 and knocked in 11 runs, while scoring 14 and stealing three bases.
Bryant was tabbed as the league's preseason favorite after collecting all six first-place votes. Defending champion LIU Brooklyn was picked second and followed by Wagner and Mount St. Mary's to round out the top four. The top four teams qualify for the Northeast Conference Championship, which will be held at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT, on May 23-26.
Following the season-opening games against UMass, Central is scheduled to travel to Navy for a three-game series beginning on Friday, March 1.