WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Bridgewater State has been picked to finish in a tie for sixth place in the 2017 Massachusetts State Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Baseball Preseason Poll.
Westfield State, Salem State and Massachusetts Maritime have all been selected to win the MASCAC championship as voted on by the coaches from around the league.
Westfield State earned four first place votes for 42 points in this year's poll. They finished the MASCAC season 8-6 in 2016. Back on the mound for the Owls is 2016 MASCAC Rookie of the Year John Gegetskas who was also a First Team All-Conference honoree. He closed out the 2016 regular season with the second best ERA (1.71), third most complete games (4) with 36 strikeouts and a shut out in the conference.
Reigning 2016 MASCAC Regular Season and Tournament Champions Salem State finished with three first place votes for 42 points. The Vikings were 12-2 at the end of league action last year. Returning for the Vikings is First Team All-Conference honoree Dan Connors who last season was fifth in the league in batting average at .356 with 57 hits, including nine doubles, a triple and home run. He also had a .444 slugging percentage and .414 on-base percentage to go along with 12 walks.
Earning the final first place vote for 42 points is Massachusetts Maritime. The Buccaneers closed out 2016 with an 11-3 mark in league action. Two-time MASCAC Player of the Year and All-Conference honoree Logan Sullo returns for the team after leading the league in batting average (.429), on base percentage (.531) and slugging percentage (.735) while also tallying the second most triples (4), third most home runs (5) and seventh most RBI (25) during the 2016 season.
Sitting in the fourth spot with 29 points is Fitchburg State. The Falcons were 10-4 last season. Nathan Littman is back on the diamond for Fitchburg State. Last season, he led the Falcons with a .355 batting average with 43 hits, .446 on-base and slugging percentage and 24 RBI. He also stole 18 bases and tallied 15 walks.
Worcester State is up next in fifth place with 23 points. The Lancers had three wins in league action last season. All-Conference honoree Jake Ryan returns after leading the Lancers with a .338 batting average with 48 hits that included 13 doubles and three triples that drove in 21 runs. He also finished with a .500 slugging percentage and .423 on-base percentage.
Tying for the sixth spot with 19 points is Bridgewater State and Framingham State. The Bears were 7-7 last season while the Rams were 5-9. Ryan Feeney is back for Bridgewater State. Last season, he led the team with a .364 batting average with 47 hits, including 12 doubles plus 23 runs scored and 16 RBI. For Framingham State, All-Conference honoree Ryan Wardwell returns after tallying a .291 batting average, 41 hits, including 11 doubles and four home runs while also collecting 26 RBI and a .454 slugging percentage.
Rounding out the 2017 preseason poll is MCLA in eighth with eight points. Billy Pulasky led the Trailblazers last season with a .333 batting average while also connecting for 33 hits, including two doubles plus 12 runs scored and 10 RBI.
Massachusetts Maritime jump starts the 2017 baseball season with non-conference contests on Monday, February 27 while the rest of the MASCAC institutions begin their season the following week with non-conference play.
Courtesy of MASCAC Media Relations