MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Southern New Hampshire University baseball team was a near-unanimous choice to finish atop the Northeast Division, according to the Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Monday.
The Penmen, who were a unanimous choice last season and have now been picked at the top of the poll for three consecutive years, earned 13 of the possible 14 first-place votes and 111 total points to finish ahead of Franklin Pierce University, which garnered a first-place vote and 97 total points. Defending NE10 Champion Merrimack College placed third with 84 points and collected the remaining first-place vote. Bentley University (74) and Stonehill College (57) made up the middle of the Northeast Division Poll, with Assumption College (50), Saint Anselm College (37) and Saint Michael's College (22) rounding it out.
In the Southwest Division, the University of New Haven was picked on top for the second straight season, garnering eight first-place votes and 91 points to edge out Le Moyne College, which tallied up six first-place votes and 88 points. Adelphi University gathered the remaining first-place vote and 69 points to place third. Pace University (58) and Southern Connecticut State University (52) slotted in fourth and fifth, respectively, with American International College (29) and the College of Saint Rose (26) finishing off the poll.
Southern New Hampshire, led by 11th-year head coach Scott Loiseau, finished 41-17 a year ago, capturing its second NCAA East Region title by defeating St. Thomas Aquinas College and advancing to the NCAA Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C., for the first time since 2012. SNHU sat at 10-9 the morning of March 28 and went 23-4 to end the regular season. The Penmen then went 2-2 in the Northeast-10 Championship, but bounced back by going a perfect 4-for-4 in the regional, as they outscored their opponents, 28-4, before winning a pair of games in the World Series for the first time in program history to reach the National Semifinals.
The Penmen were selected first in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II East Region Preseason Poll last week, and placed graduate student John Stanton (Sandwich, Mass.) and junior Tom Blandini (Bow, N.H.) on the Preseason NCBWA All-East Region Team.
The Penmen kick off the 2019 season with a three-game set at California State University San Bernardino that begins Feb. 8.
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2019 Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. So. New Hampshire – 111 (13)
2. Franklin Pierce – 97 (1)
3. Merrimack – 84 (1)
4. Bentley – 74
5. Stonehill – 57
6. Assumption – 50
7. Saint Anselm – 37
8. Saint Michael's – 22
1. New Haven – 91 (8)
2. Le Moyne – 88 (6)
3. Adelphi – 69 (1)
4. Pace – 58
5. So. Connecticut – 52
6. AIC – 29
7. Saint Rose – 26
(#) – indicates first-place votes