Feb. 16, 2012

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Monmouth tops tight NEC Preseason Poll


Defending regular-season champion Monmouth is the favorite to repeat in the Northeast Conference Preseason Poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.


The Hawks received four first-place votes, as did second-place and defending NEC tourney champ Sacred Heart. Central Connecticut State collected the final first-place vote and came in third, followed by Bryant, LIU Brooklyn, Mount St. Mary’s, Wagner, Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickinson.


Monmouth returns six position starters and 18 letterwinners, including a pair of weekend starting pitchers in Pat Light (pictured) and Dan Smith.


The Pioneers got complete games in the 2011 NEC tourney from Troy Scribner, Nick Leiningen and Kody Kerski, who all return for the 2012 campaign. The trio allowed just four earned runs in 27 tourney innings.


The season begins on Friday, Feb. 17, with conference play starting the weekend of March 16-18. Conference series will again be four-game sets. The top four teams will advance to the 2012 NEC Tournament from May 17-20 at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn.


2012 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll


Team (First Place) (2011 NEC, Overall Records)

1. Monmouth (4) (25-7, 36-19)

2. Sacred Heart (4) (23-9, 34-23)

3. Central Connecticut State (1) (17-14, 26-25-1)

4. Bryant (19-12, 30-23)

5. LIU Brooklyn (19-11, 28-23)

6. Mount St. Mary’s (7-25, 15-35)

7. Wagner (12-20, 18-33)

8. Quinnipiac (11-21, 15-32)

9. Fairleigh Dickinson (9-23, 12-38)


(photo courtesy of Monmouth Media Relations Office)