COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team was picked to finish eighth in the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division in the league's preseason poll, which was released by the conference office today and was chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights received 18 points in an eight-team division that was topped by nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, which totaled 105 points.
Saint Michael's finished 4-25 overall in 2017 while posting a 4-23 record in the NE10, including 4-17 in the division. The Purple Knights placed seventh, besting Saint Anselm College by one game in the standings. The Hawks earned seven more points than the Purple and Gold in the preseason poll, while Saint Michael's won its three-game series with Stonehill College, 2-1. The Skyhawks were picked fourth in the rankings with 61 points. The Purple Knights downed Assumption College - picked fifth in the poll - once; lost a one-run game at Southern New Hampshire; two one-run affairs to Merrimack College, which was slotted third; and a one-run contest to sixth-place Bentley University.
Eighteen newcomers join the squad this spring, including 17 first-years and a grad transfer. Among the returners are three players who have earned NE10 All-Rookie Team accolades at one point or another, including sophomore Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham), who was recognized last year after hitting .296 with nine doubles, 11 doubles and 13 walks. Junior Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) batted .311 with 10 extra-base hits, 17 runs and 12 RBIs, and classmate Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) drove in 13 runs and scored 16 more.
Junior Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) slugged three home runs with 11 RBIs while earning a win and logging 20.2 innings on the mound. Classmate Christian Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) went 2-2 while holding opponents to a .240 average as a key reliever, and senior Colin Brennan (Braintree, Mass./Boston College HS) was 1-0 with a 3.27 earned run average. Junior Drew Farris (Andover, Mass./Saint John's Prep) led Division II by issuing only 0.47 walks per nine innings while taking fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.5), and senior Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) was 11th nationally in walks per nine innings (1.12).
In their second season under head coach Jason Szafarski, the Purple Knights begin the year with eight games in Fort Myers, Fla., in March before visiting Mercy College for a three-game set on March 17-18 to open their northern slate. NE10 play begins at The College of Saint Rose on March 24, and Saint Michael's kicks off its home slate on April 2 by taking on Fisher College before hosting 13 straight games between April 7 and 22.