SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (February 14, 2017) – The Western New England University baseball team has been selected to finish third in the 2017 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released today by the league office.
Western New England received two of a possible nine first place votes, collecting 62 total points for its third place finish. Defending CCC champion Salve Regina and 2016 runner-up Endicott tied for the top spot with 74 points, with the Seahawks earning five first place votes to the Gulls' two. Nichols (57 points) and Curry (43) followed Western New England in fourth and fifth, respectively, while Roger Williams (34), Gordon (33), Wentworth (18) and Eastern Nazarene (10) rounded out the final four spots in the poll.
After winning 30 games and claiming the CCC regular season title last spring, Western New England has its sights set on another successful campaign in 2017.
Despite losing four All-CCC performers to graduation, the Golden Bears return the 2016 CCC Rookie of the Year in sophomore left-handed pitcher Bob Hamel (Southwick, Mass.), who went 7-1 with a 1.88 earned run average during his freshman campaign.
Senior first baseman Daniel Morin (Salem, N.H.), a two-time All-CCC selection, will be a key offensive piece for the Golden Bears this spring after leading the team in home runs (six) and RBI (42) last season. Additionally, sophomore infielder Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) and sophomore outfielder Erik Lacaire (Worcester, Mass.) are back after making significant contributions as freshmen.
Head coach Dan Gomez begins his fourth season at the helm of the baseball program in 2017 with a career record of 68-50-1. Gomez was named both ECAC DIII New England Coach of the Year and CCC Coach of the Year following Western New England's 2016 campaign.
The Golden Bears open up their 2017 season with a three-game series against SUNY Old Westbury on March 4-5, before heading down south for eight games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational from March 10-18. Western New England hosts crosstown rival Springfield College for its home opener on March 22, while CCC play gets underway at Salve Regina on March 25.