Pitman, N.J. (2/14/17) – The Kean University baseball team has been picked to finish first in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Cougars, coming off their 11th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, were also tabbed in two preseason national polls with rankings of 15th and 19th respectively in the Collegiate Baseball and D3baseball.com polls.
Kean went 30-18 overall last season, including four wins at the NCAA Regional in Moosic, Pa. The Cougars' only two losses in the national tournament came to College World Series participant St. John Fisher College. Kean's 30 wins were the 12th straight season that the program has amassed at least 30 wins.
The Cougars hit nearly .300 as a team (.293) in 2016 and made nearly half the errors that their opponents did (49/97). Kean outscored opponents 265-211 and had 11 different players who fielded their positions perfectly in 2016.
In addition to his all-conference nod, Krupa won a National Rawlings Gold Glove Award at first base after not making an error in over 400 chances. He picked up NJAC first-team honors for the first time after being named to the second-team in his rookie season. The 2015 Rookie of the Year, Krupa batted. 313 in NJAC play with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
In his final regular-season start, Ferguson tossed the second nine-inning no-hitter in school-history, and Ryan Reitmeyer's diving stop at second base to get the final out landed on SportsCenter's Top-10 that evening. That victory helped the Cougars earn one of the final 14 at-large berths in the NCAA Tournament. Ferguson finished with the most wins on the squad with eight and the southpaw had seven complete games to his credit.
Head Coach Neil Ioviero earned the 600th win of his career and was named NJAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time.
This year's squad returns a lot of familiar faces on the mound. In addition to that, Coach Ioviero expects speed to play into the team's success.
NJAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
(number in parenthesis indicates first-place votes)
1. Kean (3)
2. Ramapo (4)
3. Rowan (2) (dark horse)
4. TCNJ (1)
6. Montclair State
7. William Paterson