Skyhawks ranked fifth in NCBWA East Region and fourth in NE-10 North Division preseason polls.
EASTON, Mass. (February 6 2013) – The Stonehill College men's baseball team is ranked fifth in the preseason National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region top-10 rankings released this afternoon.
The Skyhawks were also tabbed fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference North Division Preseason Poll. They sit behind Franklin Pierce, Southern New Hampshire, and UMass Lowell. Two teams in the NE-10 earned national rankings from the NCBWA, with Franklin Pierce ranking ninth overall and LeMoyne ranking 18th.
Stonehill is coming off a 2012 season in which it posted a 30-19 overall record and an 18-11 record in NE-10 play. The Skyhawks earned a berth in the NE-10 conference tournament after finishing with the third best record in the conference, but fell to second-seeded and then no. 14/26 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce to end their season.
In his 16th season, Head Coach Pat Boen returns five starters to the field including junior Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass.) who exploded onto the NE-10 scene last spring, batting .353 with 65 hits and 32 RBIs. Fratus and teammate Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I.) earned conference recognition last season, with Fratus being named to the All-Conference Second Team and All-Rookie Team, while Karalis earned All-Conference Third Team honors. Karalis hit .285 with 35 RBIs, 51 hits, and a .383 on base percentage he also posted a 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield, earning 94 put-outs and seven outfield assists.
Senior outfielder James DeAlto (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) and junior shortstop Michael Zeiner (Simsbury, Conn.) are also returning starters from last season. DeAlto started 34 games for the Skyhawks, hitting .250 with 15 RBIs, 27 runs and 23 hits. Zeiner was one of only five players to start all 49 games for the Skyhawks, he hit .260, posted a .395 on base percentage and scored a team second best 37 runs.
Stonehill enters the year with a young pitching staff that consists of only one upper classman. Junior Zach Soulier (Milford, Conn.) made 10 appearances, posting a 5-1 record with 50 strikeouts in 50.0 innings. Soulier will be accompanied on the pitching staff by five sophomores and three freshmen. Sophomore Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y.), who posted a 3-2 record with two saves, a 2.10 ERA, 54 strikeouts and one complete game, will help lead the young group of pitchers into the 2013 season.
The Skyhawks welcome several newcomers to the squad including freshman Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) and transfer student Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I./Elms College). Hoyt was named to the ESPN All-State First Team as well as the Boston Herald Dream-Team during his senior campaign at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass. Pagano played two years at Elms College prior to joining the Skyhawks. He hit .396 with 19 RBIs, 38 hits, and scored 15 runs in 28 games last season.
Stonehill opens the season on February 29th when it travels to Myrtle Beach to take on LIU Post in the Ripken Experience Northeast Challenge.