Senior Armand Rugel, who led the NE-10 with 13 saves last season, is expected to return to Stonehill's starting rotation in 2015.
Skyhawks have won 30 games and reached NE-10 Tournament in four of last five years
EASTON, Mass. (January 29, 2015) – The Stonehill College baseball team has been picked seventh in the 2015 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Preseason East Region Poll, as voted on by sports information directors in the region.
Stonehill went 30-20 a season ago and reached the knockout round of the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament before narrowly missing out on the program's third NCAA Tournament bid.
Three-time NE-10 Coach of the Year Pat Boen enters the upcoming season 41 wins shy of 500 for his career, with a record of 459-335-2 (.578). Now in his 18th year at the helm of the baseball program, Boen has guided Stonehill to 30 wins and an NE-10 Tournament appearance in four of the last five seasons.
Stonehill was picked seventh in the East Region preseason poll with 30 points, ahead of NE-10 members Merrimack College (29 points), Bentley University (25), and the University of New Haven (16), which were selected 8-10. Defending conference champion Southern New Hampshire University topped the preseason East Region top-10 with 84 points and three first-place tallies, while the Penmen also landed in the NCBWA National Poll, ranked 11th. Franklin Pierce University (81 points, five first-place votes) and St. Thomas Aquinas College (69 points, one first-place vote) rounded out the top-three of the East Region poll.
Key returners from last season's squad include senior right-handed pitcher Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown), senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North), and junior outfielder Brian Campbell (Franklin, Massachusetts/Mount Saint Charles).
Junior Brian Campbell is a career .329 hitter with 21 doubles, 35 RBI, and 54 runs scored in 88 career games for Stonehill.
Rugel, who earned All-NE-10 and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-East Region second team recognition as a relief pitcher last season, is expected to return to Stonehill's starting rotation this spring. He led the NE-10 in the regular season with 12 saves in 2014 while posting a 1.16 earned run average. Rugel started six contests during his first two seasons with Stonehill, registering two complete game efforts as a sophomore in 2013.
Campbell, a 2013 All-NE-10 third team and All-Rookie team selection, led the Skyhawks with his .318 batting average last season to go with 16 doubles, three triples, one home run, and 24 RBI. In 88 career games, Cambell is a .329 hitter with 21 doubles, 35 RBI, 54 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases.
Fratus also figures to be an important offensive piece in 2015, as he brings power (four home runs) and reliability (50 starts in 50 games last season). A 2012 All-Conference second team selection, Fratus hit .280 last spring with ten doubles, 28 RBI, 28 walks, and 21 runs.
Senior Neal Horan (Mashpee, Massachusetts/BC High), who went 1-1 with a 0.89 ERA in five starts early last season before suffering an arm injury, and sophomore lefthander Jeremy Roberts (Reading, Massachusetts/Malden Catholic), a 2014 NE-10 All-Rookie team selection, will join Rugel in the starting rotation.
Stonehill is scheduled to open its 2015 campaign against Felician College on Thursday, February 19th in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as part of the Ripken Experience Northeast Challenge. The Skyhawks are then slated to head to Palm Beach, Florida in early March for 12 games before eventually hosting Assumption College for their home opener on Tuesday, March 31st at Lou Gorman Field.