Baseball Picked Seventh In 2011 Northeast Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll

HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University baseball team was picked to finish seventh in the 2011 Northeast Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll, released by the NEC office on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The Bobcats will return 19 players from last year's roster that finished 2010 at 14-39 overall and 13-19 in NEC play. Junior Chris Migani (Orange, Conn.) was named the first captain in the Bobcats' Division I history earlier this winter, while Ben Farina (Wateford, Conn.) and Andrew Rinaldi (East Rockaway, N.Y.) were named assistant co-captains.

2010 Northeast Conference Tournament champ Central Connecticut State was picked as the favorite, picking up two first-place votes, while Monmouth slotted in behind the Blue Devils with four first-place votes. Bryant was picked third, with the remaining three first-place votes, with Wagner and Sacred Heart filling out the top five. Mount St. Mary's was picked ahead of the Bobcats, followed by Long Island and Fairleigh Dickinson in eighth and ninth place.

2011 Northeast Conferenece Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Central Connecticut State (2)
2. Monmouth (4)
3. Bryant (3)
4. Wagner
5. Sacred Heart
6. Mount St. Mary's
7. Quinnipiac
8. Long Island
9. Fairleigh Dickinson

While Quinnipiac head coach Dan Gooley will look to replace the power bat and incredible fielding of center fielder Brian Monack, who blasted seven home runs and drove in 42 runs as a senior last year, as well as weekend starter Mike Oskandy, who led the Bobcats with 79 innings pitched in his final season, Quinnipiac will bring back six of its nine position starters, as well as an experienced pitching core.

Migani begins his third year on the Bobcats' roster as just the third player in program history to reach 100 hits as a sophomore. He and Farina, in addition to Quinnipiac's only Division I All-American and current assistant coach Tim Binkoski, are the only three to accomplish the feat. Migani will assume everyday second base duties while double-play mate Mickey Amanti (Waterford, Conn.) will handle the shortstop duties. All-Northeast Conference selection Joe Poletsky (Riverside, Conn.) will fill out the left side of the infield at third while across the diamond, Gabe Guerino (Milford, Conn.) returns as the Bobcats everyday first baseman. Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, Conn.) returns as Quinnipiac's starting catching after a breakout season as a sophomore in 2010.

The outfield shifts with the graduation of Monack and right fielder Ryan Ullrich (Woodbridge, Conn.), who combined for two errors for the year together manning the hill at the Quinnipiac Baseball Field. Farina, who led the team in average (.344), hits (72), doubles (16) and runs scored (42) will move from left field to center and 2010 designated hitter Mike Bartlett (Milford, Conn.) will jump into left field. Farina enters his senior year as the Bobcats' active hit leader (181) and needs 67 hits in his final season to pass Binkoski for the Quinnipiac career hits record. Freshman Mike Blumenthal (Dix Hills, N.Y.) is the early favorite to win the right fielder job.

On the hill, Gooley will look to Kyle Birdsall (Orange, Conn.), Derek Lamaccia (Whitestone, N.Y.), Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.) and George Dummar (Branford, Conn.) to handle the weekend pitching duties. Birdsall and Cinelli caught fire together during a stretch in 2010, combining for half of Quinnipiac's wins on the mound. Lamacchia appeared in a freshman-best 17 games last season and Dummar saw time against several non-conference opponents. Rinaldi will be looked on to handle the back-end of the bullpen after leading Quinnipiac with three saves in 2010.

Quinnipiac opens the 2011 season in Myrtle Beach, S.C. with a two-game set against Marshall on Friday, Mar. 4 and Saturday, Mar. 5 followed by a single game against Ball State on Sunday, Mar. 6 at BB&T Field. They then head to Richmond, Va. to face Richmond on Friday, Mar. 11, Saturday, Mar. 12 and Sunday, Mar. 13 in a three-game series.