Sophomore Brian Campbell led Stonehill last year with a .347 batting average and a .410 on-base percentage.
Skyhawks slated to open season February 20th against Felician College in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
EASTON, Mass. (January 30, 2014) – Stonehill College has been picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference baseball preseason coaches' poll the league released today. Stonehill received 63 total votes, eight fewer than third-place Merrimack College and three more than fifth-place Bentley University.
Stonehill is coming off a 23-22 season, including an 11-16 mark Northeast-10 play. The 2013 campaign marked the sixth consecutive season, and 15th time in 16 seasons under head coach Pat Boen that the Skyhawks have posted a record above .500. Stonehill was also among teams receiving votes in the Collegiate Baseball News Division II Preseason Coaches' poll, which was released on December 24th.
Stonehill returns three student-athletes that garnered Northeast-10 All-Conference accolades at the conclusion of last season, and four others that were honored by the conference in previous years. Junior pitcher Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) and sophomore utility man Brian Campbell (Franklin, Mass./Mount Saint Charles) were named to the 2013 NE-10 All-Conference third team, while Campbell and classmate Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) earned NE-10 All-Rookie team recognition.
Duff pitched a team-high 78.2 innings last season, and he also led the squad in complete games (three) and earned run average (2.63). The junior right-handed hurler ranked second on the team in both strikeouts (61), and strikeouts per game (6.98). Campbell proved to be one of Stonehill's most effective hitters during his freshman campaign, as he led the Skyhawks in batting average (.347), on base percentage (.410), and slugging percentage (.419), while scoring 18 runs. Hoyt landed on the All-Rookie squad after hitting .255 with three doubles, two triples, and 15 runs batted in.
Zach Soulier enters his senior campaign with a 15-6 career record and an ERA of 2.76 in 170 innings pitched.
In 2012, junior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) was named to the second team, while senior outfielder Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan) earned a spot on the third team. Fratus and Duff were also selected to the All-Rookie team. Fratus is a career .309 hitter with 16 doubles, 11 triples, and 52 RBI, and he has started all 94 of the games that he has suited up for as a Skyhawk. Karalis enters his senior season with a career .270 batting average, 25 doubles, 8 triples, 57 walks, and 70 RBI.
Rounding out Stonehill's returning All-Conference performers is senior pitcher Zach Soulier (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law), who earned a spot on the All-Rookie team in 2011. The southpaw is 15-6 in 24 career starts, striking out 121 batters in 170.0 innings pitched, with an ERA of 2.76. Soulier is one of four returning Skyhawk pitchers that posted a sub-3.00 ERA with over 65 innings pitched last season, along with Duff and juniors Neal Horan (Mashpee, Mass./BC High) and Armand Rugel (Middletown, R.I./Middletown).
Stonehill is scheduled to open up its 2014 campaign against Felician College on Thursday, February 20th at 6 p.m. in Myrtle Beach, S.C. as part of the Ripken Experience Northeast Challenge. The Skyhawks will play five games in Myrtle Beach before heading back down south in early March, as Stonehill is set to play ten contests in Florida. The 2013 home opener is slated for Wednesday, March 19th at 3:30 p.m. against NE-10 divisional foe Assumption College.