New Hampshire Hardball

NE-10 Poll: SNHU lands on top

MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Southern New Hampshire University baseball team was a unanimous selection to finish atop the Northeast Division in the NE10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Monday.

It is the seventh straight year the Penmen have been picked No. 1 in the poll, including the third time they have have been a unanimous choice (2020, 2018). SNHU was also a near-unanimous decision in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

The Penmen earned all 12 possible first-place votes and totaled 84 points to finish ahead of in-state rival Franklin Pierce University, which garnered the remaining first-place vote and 72 total points. Assumption University (57), Saint Anselm College (50) and Bentley University (47) filled out the middle of the poll, with Northeast Division-newcomer American International College (29) and Saint Michael’s College (18) rounding it out.

In the Southwest Division, Adelphi University received 10 first-place votes and 69 points to top the poll for the fourth consecutive season. Southern Connecticut State University received two first-place votes and 55 points to place second, just ahead of Le Moyne College, which collected the remaining first-place vote and 41 points. Pace University (33) and the College of Saint Rose (18) finished off the poll.

SNHU, ranked sixth in the Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season NCAA Division II Poll, is coming off a season in which it finished 46-12, including 21-3 in NE10 play, captured its second straight NE10 title and second consecutive NCAA East Regional crown to advance to the NCAA Division II Championship in Cary, N.C., for the second year and third time in the past four campaigns.

Head coach Scott Loiseau, in his 15th year, returns three of his top five run producers from a year ago, including junior Nick Schwartz (Massapequa, N.Y.), redshirt-junior Cristian Mercedes (Providence, R.I.) and junior Danniel Rivera (New Britain). Schwartz batted .397 (75-189) with nine home runs, 45 RBIs and 56 runs scored, while slashing .491/.646/1.137, in 56 games. Mercedes hit .303 (70-231) with six homers, 43 RBIs and 51 runs in 56 contests, while Rivera turned in a .290 average (65-224) with nine long-balls, 33 RBIs, 69 runs scored and 32 stolen bases in 57 games. Junior Michael LaRocca (Vero Beach, Fla.), who played in just 13 games a year ago due to injury, but has hit .329 (52-158) with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games over parts of three seasons, also returns.

Junior Brandon White (Simsbury, Conn.; 7-2, 3.31 ERA) and graduate student Josh Roberge (Chelmsford, Mass.; 9-5, 3.38 ERA) are both back as part of the starting rotation, as is senior Jeffrey Praml (W. Bridgewater, N.J.), who was not on the team last season, but was an All-American in 2019 and went 7-3 with a 3.82 ERA the last time he pitched in 2021. Junior Trevor Anibal (Bedford, N.H.) was 5-0 with four saves and a 2.14 ERA as the closer last season and is back for 2023.

The Penmen open up the 2023 season Friday, Feb. 17 (4:30 p.m.) with the first of a three-game set at 15th-ranked Colorado Mesa University. SNHU is slated to kick off its home slate Friday, March 31 (3 p.m.) against cross-town rival Saint Anselm at Penmen Field.

2023 NE10 Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll

Northeast Division

1. Southern New Hampshire – 84 (12)
2. Franklin Pierce – 72 (1)
3. Assumption – 57
4. Saint Anselm – 50
5. Bentley – 47
6. American International – 29
7. Saint Michael’s – 18

Southwest Division

1. Adelphi – 69 (10)
2. Southern Connecticut – 55 (2)
3. Le Moyne – 51 (1)
4. New Haven – 41
5. Pace – 33
6. Saint Rose – 18


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