For Immediate Release
January 3, 2012
South Easton, Mass. – Four member institutions from the Northeast-10 Conference were featured in a pair of collegiate baseball preseason polls, both of which were announced last week.
In the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top-30 rankings, Southern Connecticut State University ranked third overall in the country, Franklin Pierce University came in at No. 18, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell appeared at No. 28.
So. Connecticut also took the highest spot among Northeast-10 schools in the College Baseball Lineup Preseason poll, ranking ninth among the 40 schools chosen. Franklin Pierce was selected at No. 13, while Le Moyne College came in at No. 24 and UMass Lowell at No. 37.
So. Connecticut (45-9-1, 21-4-1 NE-10) won the Northeast-10 regular season title a year ago while ranking No. 4 in the country in the final national polls. The Owls also won two games in College World Series play before seeing their season come to an end against Winona State. The pitching staff will see senior Chris Zibn return after the lefthander went 10-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) last season. Senior first baseman Ryan Geffert is also back following a junior campaign in which he hit .301 with six home runs and 49 RBI.
Franklin Pierce (40-14, 19-7 NE-10) reached the 40-win plateau for the fifth time in six seasons last year before falling to the Owls in the NCAA East Regional. The Ravens, who had four players selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last June, return Northeast-10 Pitcher of the Year Ryan Thompson after he was selected in the 36th round by the New York Yankees. The junior right-hander will look to improve his draft stock after going 11-1 with a 1.23 ERA last spring. He also struck out 114 in 95 innings pitched (10.8 K/9) while walking only 13.
UMass Lowell (37-14, 18-8 NE-10) saw its season end at the NCAA East Regional last June with a loss to Franklin Pierce. But the River Hawks, who posted a miniscule 1.83 ERA as a team a year ago, welcome back junior starting pitcher Garrett Cole, who went 7-1 last season with a 0.82 ERA in 12 games (eight starts). Also returning is junior infielder Cam Kneeland, who hit .328 with six home runs and a conference-leading 53 RBI a year ago. UMass Lowell will however be without starter Jack Leathersich, who was selected in the fifth round by the New York Mets in last June's MLB Draft.
For Le Moyne, the school's baseball program played its last season at the Division I level in 2011, compiling a 23-30 record as an independent institution. The Dolphins, who last year earned victories over Missouri, Penn State and Boston College, have now reclassified as a member of the Northeast-10 and will compete at the Division II level for the first time since 1987.
The Northeast-10 is an association of 16 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 5,500 student-athletes. Each year, 4,000 of those student-athletes compete in Conference championships in 23 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.