PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The 2009 Little East Conference preseason baseball coaches' poll was announced Tuesday, and three different schools received at least one first-place vote in the balloting of the eight head coaches.
The LEC boasts one of the top baseball conferences in the nation, with three schools advancing to the NCAA Tournament last season.
The University of Southern Maine topped this year's preseason poll with five first-place votes and 61 points, while Eastern Connecticut State University was second with two top votes and 55 points and Keene State College was third with the final first-place vote and 52 points. All three schools are coming off NCAA Tournament berths in 2008, Keene State after capturing the LEC regular season and tournament championships and the other two perennial powers earning at-large bids. All three are also ranked in the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Collegiate Baseball Division III Preseason Poll.
Plymouth State, which finished in seventh place in the LEC last season, is picked to finish in the same spot this spring in the voting by the coaches. After the top three, Rhode Island College holds down the fourth spot with 39 points, followed by UMass Boston (31), Western Connecticut (24), PSU (15), and UMass Dartmouth (11).
Each of the eight LEC teams will advance to the 2009 Championship Tournament. The top four teams will host a best two-of-three quarterfinal round series on May 2-3. The quarterfinal winners will advance for a final-four double-elimination tournament from May 7-9. The LEC Tournament Champion will earn the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The complete Little East baseball preseason poll results are listed below:
Baseball Pre-Season Poll
1. Southern Maine (5) 61
2. Eastern Connecticut (2) 55
3. Keene State (1) 52
4. Rhode Island College 39
5. UMass Boston 31
6. Western Connecticut 24
7. Plymouth State 15
8. UMass Dartmouth 11
(first-place votes in parentheses)
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