MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Southern New Hampshire University baseball team was selected to finish atop the Northeast Division, according to the Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Wednesday.
The Penmen earned 12 of a possible 14 first-place votes and 109 total points to finish ahead of defending NE-10 Champion Franklin Pierce University, which garnered the other three first-place votes and 99 total points. Merrimack College placed third with 82 points, while Stonehill College was fourth with 77. Assumption College registered 60 points to check in fifth, ahead of Bentley University's 50 points. Saint Anselm College (33) and Saint Michael's College (22) rounded out the remainder of the Northeast.
In the Southwest Division, Adelphi University and Pace University – last season's Co-Southwest Regular-Season Champions – each received five first-place votes, but Adelphi finished first with 84 points, three ahead of Pace's 81 and four ahead of Le Moyne College, which earned the remaining four first-place votes and 80 total points to sit third. The University of New Haven (54), Southern Connecticut State University (46) and the College of Saint Rose (42) placed fourth through sixth, respectively, while American International College (26) finished off the Southwest poll.
Southern New Hampshire, led by ninth-year head coach and 2016 NCBWA East Region and NE10 Coach of the Year Scott Loiseau, finished 50-7 a year ago, captured its second NE10 title and made its fifth straight NCAA East Regional appearance. The Penmen reeled off a program-best 19 straight wins from March 31-April 24 and set a new program record for victories, surpassing the 43 wins by the 2012 team that advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series in Cary, N.C. After dropping the East Regional opener, the Penmen staved off elimination five straight times over four days to force a winner-take-all game two in the final before falling, 6-3, to Franklin Pierce. SNHU closed the year ranked No. 8 in the NCBWA Division II Poll.
The Penmen were selected third in the Preseason National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II Poll and first in the NCBWA East Region Poll last week, in addition to placing senior pitcher Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass.) on the Preseason NCBWA All-East Region Team.
The Penmen kick off the 2017 season with a five-game trip to South Carolina from Feb. 23-26. SNHU starts out against Long Island University-LIU Post on day one at 6 p.m.
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2017 Northeast-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. So. New Hampshire - 109 (12)
2. Franklin Pierce - 99 (3)
3. Merrimack - 82
4. Stonehill - 77
5. Assumption - 60
6. Bentley - 50
7. Saint Anselm - 33
8. Saint Michael's - 22
1. Adelphi - 84 (5)
2. Pace - 81 (5)
3. Le Moyne - 80 (4)
4. New Haven - 54
5. So. Connecticut - 46
6. Saint Rose - 42
7. AIC - 26
(#) – indicates first-place votes