FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINTHROP, Mass. – Suffolk University has laid claim to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Baseball Championship each of the last three years since Rams head coach Anthony Del Prete took over the program, with all three GNAC title games decided by one run and two of them coming in extra innings. A year removed from winning a pair of NCAA Tournament games, Suffolk has again been named the favorite in the annual GNAC Baseball Preseason Poll, receiving six of a possible eight first-place votes and 62 points overall, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Seeking its fourth GNAC Tournament title in as many years, Suffolk will open up the 2018 campaign with 10 games down in Florida from March 9-17, beginning with a matchup against Albion (Mich.).
Fellow GNAC baseball powerhouse Saint Joseph's College of Maine finished second overall in the preseason poll, receiving 56 points and two first-place votes. The Monks had an 0-2 showing in the GNAC Tournament last spring as the No. 1 seed in the postseason, but will get set to host the final two days of the 2018 GNAC Tournament's double-elimination portion on Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6, at Larry Mahaney Diamond in Standish, Maine, as part of the conference's host rotation.
Johnson & Wales University (RI) finished third in the poll with 49 points, as the Wildcats advanced to the final day of last year's GNAC Tournament against Suffolk, falling 1-0 at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass. Lasell College meanwhile took the forth spot with 38 points, as the Lasers eliminated Saint Joseph's in last year's conference tournament before being downed by Suffolk.
Making up the remainder of the poll was Albertus Magnus College with 30 points, Rivier University with 20 points, Norwich University with 19 points, and Anna Maria College with 19 points.
South trips will take place in late February and early March for GNAC teams. Albertus Magnus and JWU will be in Myrtle Beach, S.C., while Anna Maria and SJC participate in the RussMatt Invitational in Auburndale and Winter Haven, Fla. Rivier will be in Fort Myers, Fla., Suffolk travels to Auburndale, Fla. and Norwich will be in both Vero Beach and Fort Pierce, Fla.
2018 GNAC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Suffolk (6) - 62
2. Saint Joseph's Maine (2) - 56
3. Johnson & Wales - 49
4. Lasell - 38
5. Albertus Magnus - 30
6. Rivier - 21
7. Norwich - 19
8. Anna Maria - 13
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.
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