Beavers Selected Fifth in NAC Preseason Poll

Beavers Selected Fifth in NAC Preseason Poll

UMaine-Farmington has been tabbed to finish fifth in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) preseason poll with 15 points. 

In a vote of conference head coaches, Husson was picked as the preseason favorite to win the 2020 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Baseball Championship. The Eagles earned 35 points with five first-place votes to top the field. Thomas finished in second place with 28 points.

NAC-newcomer SUNY Canton claimed the remaining first-place vote and tied with Northern Vermont-Lyndon in third place with 20 points each. UMaine-Farmington finished fifth with 15 points, and UMaine-Presque Isle finished sixth with eight points.

This spring is the second year of a two-year partnership with the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC). Both conferences will determine a tournament champion that will face-off for the NAC Championship trophy and NCAA automatic qualification bid (AQ) to the Division III Championship tournament.

In 2019, Husson hosted both rounds of the championship season. First, the top-seeded Eagles hosted #2 NVU-Lyndon, #3 Thomas, and #4 UMaine-Farmington in a double-elimination tournament. Husson won the final game of the tournament, 3-1 against Thomas, to advance to the NAC Championship against CUNYAC tournament champs, Baruch College. After dropping the first championship contest, the Eagles rebounded and won the second game to force a decisive game three. Baruch won the tiebreaker and the NAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

The 2020 NAC Baseball Tournament is scheduled for May 1-3 and will be hosted by the #1 seed. The tournament winner will advance to the NAC Championship against the CUNYAC tournament winner, to be held on the campus of the CUNYAC champion May 8-9.

Early season games are underway, and conference games begin April 4th.

Complete 2020 NAC Baseball Schedule

2020 Baseball Preview

1. Husson- 35 points (5 first-place votes)

Chris Morris returns to his alma mater to take the reins in his first season as head coach at Husson University this spring. The Eagles (27-16, 12-4 NAC) return Kobe Rogerson (Brewer, Maine), the 2019 Rookie of the Year, to lead the infield, while NAC Tournament MVP David LeBlanc (Beaumont, Alberta) will anchor the outfield. Husson features strong pitching from seniors Jesse Colford (Bangor, Maine) and Jake Gauvin (Busksport, Maine), as well as junior Nolan Dousa (Mansfield, Mass.). The Green and Gold will bring back nearly a full squad to the Winkin Sports Complex with 28 returning players.

   

2. Thomas- 28 points

Veteran head coach Greg King, the 2019 NAC Baseball Coach of the Year, starts his 24th season in the Thomas (14-24, 10-6 NAC) dugout. He brings back some key members of the 2019 squad, including outfielder Kyle Gleason (Danville, N.H.) and first baseman Ryan Kappelmann (Auburn, Maine), while Quinton Stebbins (Farmingdale, Maine), Nick Bagley (Hancock, Maine) and Ryan Scepansky (Blandon, Pa.) return to the pitching staff. King adds a host of newcomers to this year's team, including infielder/pitcher Cameron Denis (Waterville, Maine), infielder Devin Grindle (Surry, Maine), outfielder Austin Stebbins (Farmingdale, Maine), and pitchers Hunter Glowla (Mount Vernon, Maine) and Jacques LaBonte (Hermon, Maine). The Terriers plan to build off last year's NAC Tournament appearance and return to the playoffs this spring.

   

T3. SUNY Canton- 20 points (1 first-place vote)

The Roos enter their first season in the NAC in 2020 under veteran Head Coach Joe Carbone. SUNY Canton (7-30) will feature a young lineup with 13 returners and 16 newcomers to the roster. Collin Trathen (Heuvelton, N.Y.) hit .294 last season in 34 at-bats. Zack Newman (Seekonk, Mass.) recorded two wins and two saves in 32 innings last season, while Anthony Tur (New Hampton, N.H.) also had a victory on the mound. The team's 16 newcomers feature several transfer students, a senior, five juniors, a sophomore, and nine first-years.

   

T3. Northern Vermont-Lyndon- 20 points

The Hornets will be led by second-year head coach Reece Tanguay. NVU-Lyndon is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw the Hornets finish 22-21 overall, 11-5 in conference play, and earn the second-place seed in the NAC Baseball Tournament. Key returners include senior outfielder/pitcher Codi Smith (Hartford, Conn.), an All-Conference selection in 2018 with a .323 career batting average, junior outfielder Caleb Laroche (Franklin, Vt.), a First Team All-Conference selection last year after hitting .326, and pitcher Tyler Davis (Barre, Vt.), who recorded 50 strikeouts and posted a 3.13 ERA last season. The Hornets expect to be competitive in the hunt for the conference title.

   

5. UMaine-Farmington- 15 points

Veteran head coach Chris Bessey will lead UMaine-Farmington (12-23, 7-9 NAC) again this spring. Key returners include three 2019 First Team All-Conference players, in pitcher Gavin Arsenault (Dixfield, Maine), third baseman Chase Malloy (Madison, Maine), and utility player Derek Bowen (Benton, Maine). With the three All-Conference seniors returning to the field, the Beavers expect to make their third-consecutive appearance in the NAC tournament. Arsenault and classmate Ryan Pratt (New Sharon, Maine) will lead from the mound, while Bowen and Malloy will lead the offense. Also expected to contribute to the Beavers' success are senior Justin Rodrigue (Augusta, Maine), junior Ryan Simard (Derry, N.H.), and sophomores Hunter LaBossiere (Oxford, Maine) and Troy Johnson (Oxford, Maine), who all provide offensive depth. Look for newcomers Riley Bartell (Portland, Maine), Jordi Valls (Guatemala City, Guatemala), and Max Salvesky (Hollis, Maine) to contribute to UMF's run production.

 

   

6. UMaine-Presque Isle- 8 points

UMaine-Presque Isle (1-32, 0-16 NAC) head Coach Roger Stinson enters his third season with the Owls and has plans to rebound from a disappointing first season in the conference last year. Coach Stinson welcomes 11 newcomers who bring a competitive spirit to the program. Returning Owls will provide leadership, including senior catcher William Stinson (Norridgewock, ME), senior outfielder Brad Patterson (Harker Heights, Texas), and junior catcher/utility player Jordan Hanscom (Lincoln, Maine), as the squad works toward a spot in the NAC Tournament.