The Merrimack College baseball team will be ranked No. 8 in the East Region and juniors Frank Crinella (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Sean O’Neill (Norwood, Mass.) have been named preseason all-region selections, as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Merrimack finished last season with a 21-21 overall record, just missing out on the Northeast-10 Conference Championship. The Warriors return essentially every starter from last season’s squad, as well as multiple members of their pitching staff. Merrimack is one of six teams for the NE-10 that will begin the year ranked in the NCBWA East Region poll. Southern New Hampshire will begin the year ranked No. 1, receiving three first-place votes after winning the league last season. Franklin Pierce actually received the most first-place votes of the teams in the poll (5), but slot in at No. 2, finishing three overall points behind the Penmen. Click the links above to check out what other programs made the preseason rankings.
Many of the high expectations around the Warriors is due to the return of Crinella, who was named to the NCBWA Preseason All-East Region First Team. Last season, the third basemen was named the NE-10 Player of the Year, as well as a Daktronics, ABCA and NCBWA All-American, after totaling a .401 batting average with six homeruns, 40 RBI, 53 runs and 69 hits.
Joining Crinella as a Preseason NCBWA All-East Region honoree is O’Neill, who was named to the second team as a designated hitter. Last season O’Neill was honored on the NE-10 All-Conference Second Team after hitting .323 while driving in 25 runs. He ranked third on the team in RBI and slugging percentage (.403).
Merrimack will begin this season at the Diamond Nation complex in Flemington, N.J. against Southern Connecticut on Saturday, Feb. 28. The Warriors home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, against the College of Saint Joseph’s at 3:30 p.m. from the Warrior Baseball Diamond.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN