NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Late Tuesday afternoon the Little East Conference released the 2012 Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll. Selected to finish tied for fourth alongside the University of Southern Maine were the Beacons. Each team earned a combined 36 points respectively. Eastern Connecticut State University was tabbed to win the LEC this season having earned four of the eight first place votes and 58 points.
Picked to finish second this season was Keene State College, who earned one first place vote and 55 total points. Defending Little East Conference tournament championship, Rhode Island College was picked third. The Anchormen earned two first place votes and 48 points. The Huskies of Southern Maine garnered the last first place vote.
After the Beacons was Western Connecticut State University in sixth with 26 points, followed by UMass Dartmouth in seventh with 19 points, and Plymouth State University in eighth with nine points.
Now in his eighth season, head coach Brendan Eygabroat has seen unprecedented success leading the Beacons to the Little East Conference tournament every single season he has been at the helm. Last season he led UMass Boston to their best tournament ranking in the program's history and for the third straight season, closed out conference play with a winning record.
Looking to make a return to the NCAA tournament in 2012, Eygabroat welcomes back a very talented group of players this season. Amongst those key returners will be Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.), who finished fourth on last year's team with 40 hits and eight doubles. His three home runs and 26 runs batted in were third most in 2011.
At the plate Mark McCormack (Shelton, Conn.) will look to make his senior season just as memorable as his sophomore campaign, when the Beacons advanced to the Division III College World Series for the first-time ever in the program's history. As a junior, McCormack started all 40 games for UMass Boston, and ended the year with a .349 average, second highest only to Ryan Walsh '11. In 162 at-bats, McCormack tallied 59 hits, 14 doubles, one triple, two home runs, and 24 runs batted in. His 12 stolen bases were fourth-most and his 101 putouts were amongst the most on last year's squad.
In the bullpen Lucas Ilges (Gloucester, Mass.) is looking to build off a solid freshman season, which saw him post a 3.60 ERA. In 16 appearances, Ilges notched two wins for UMass Boston and went 55 complete innings; second most of any Beacon pitcher last season. His 29 strikeouts were tied for third, and he was one of only three pitchers to pitch a complete game.
Baseball will begin their 2012 season on March 10 when they face FDU-Florham (N.J.) at Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Fla. Start time is scheduled for 12 p.m.