NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College baseball team, led by first-year head coach Nick Barese, were selected to finish fifth in the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the conference offices this morning.
The Warriors received 55 points to rank fifth in the division. With eight first-place votes, Franklin Pierce is the favorites to capture the divisional crown, a title they have claimed the last three years. Southern Connecticut, one of four programs in the Southwest Division to receive a first-place vote, narrowly edged out New Haven to finish in first in the Southwest poll.
“Top to bottom, the Northeast-10 is one of the best baseball conferences in the country. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to play talented competition throughout the season. I know we are really looking forward to the challenge,” Barese stated. “In the Northeast Division alone there are multiple teams that are nationally recognized. It’s a testament to how successful this conference is as a whole.”
Franklin Pierce finished with 99 points to sit atop the Northeast poll. Coming in right behind them was Southern New Hampshire, with 95 points and six first-place votes. The Penmen are the reigning conference champions. Both the Penmen and the Ravens are ranked in the NCBWA Preseason Media Poll at No. 11 and No. 18, respectively.
Stonehill (77) and Bentley (67) rank third and fourth in the poll. The Falcons received one first-place vote, the only team outside of Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire to receive a first-place tally. Coming in behind Merrimack in the division were Assumption (38), Saint Anselm (29) and Saint Michael’s (16).
Based on the preseason poll, the Southwest Division should be tightly contested. The Owls finished with 81 points overall to go along with six first-place votes. New Haven arrives right on the Owls’ heels with five first-place votes and 77 points. Le Moyne and Adelpi also received first-place votes, ranking third and fourth, respectively. The bottom half of the division includes Pace (40), Saint Rose (27) and American International (18).
Merrimack will begin the season with an immediate test, as the Warriors take on the Owls in a three-game series to be played at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, N.Y. The series begins with a doubleheader on February 28, with first pitch set for noon.
2015 Northeast-10 Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1) Franklin Pierce – 99 (8)
2) Southern New Hampshire – 95 (6)
3) Stonehill – 77
4) Bentley – 67 (1)
5) Merrimack – 55
6) Assumption – 38
7) Saint Anselm – 29
8) Saint Michael’s – 16
1) Southern Connecticut – 81 (6)
2) New Haven – 77 (5)
3) Le Moyne – 66 (2)
4) Adelphi – 62 (2)
5) Pace – 40
6) Saint Rose – 27
7) American International – 18