West Babylon, N.Y. - With the majority of the roster back from a team that fell one game short of the National Championship series a season ago, the St. Thomas Aquinas baseball team was a unanimous selection as the league favorite in the East Coast Conference preseason poll. The coaches also selected LIU Post senior outfielder Rob Andreoli (North Wantagh, N.Y.) as the Preseason Player of the Year and St. Thomas Aquinas senior Frankie Moscatiello (Rocky Point, N.Y.) as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
St. Thomas Aquinas received all seven first place votes to top the poll with 49 points. The Spartans continued their run of success with a 44-17 record, an ECC Regular Season Championship, and a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017. St. Thomas Aquinas also won the NCAA East Region for the second time in program history and finished third at the NCAA Division II National Championship tournament. The Spartans, who also start the season ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball Magazine Division II preseason poll, have a roster stacked with returning players who were integral in their deep postseason run. Nine All-Conference selections and three All-Americans (Joseph Pena, Giovanni Dingcong, and Moscatiello) will don the STAC maroon and gold once again this season.
Reigning ECC Champion, LIU Post, was second in the poll with 41 points. The Pioneers earned their first ECC title and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010 last season. Molloy was third in the poll with 29 points, followed by Bridgeport and Queens who finished in a tie for fourth with 24 points.
Conference newcomer NYIT was sixth in the poll with 17 points. After over 30 years competing as a Division I program, the Bears are in their first season competing in Division II and the ECC. The move to the ECC aligns the Bears baseball squad with the rest of NYIT’s athletic teams as conference members.
Mercy rounds out the poll in seventh place with 12 points.
Andreoli was a huge part of the Pioneers’ run to an ECC title in 2017. As a junior, the outfielder earned the ECC Player of the Year honor after compiling a .346 batting average to go along with five homeruns, 44 runs batted in, and 22 stolen bases. His named was littered throughout the conference leaderboard, finishing among the top-five in the ECC with his RBI and stolen base totals as well as with 73 hits, 15 doubles, 42 runs, and 103 total bases. He also excelled patrolling the outfield, making only one error in 124 total chances on the season.
Moscatiello earns the preseason honor after finishing last season as the league’s Pitcher of the Year. After two solid seasons to start his career, Moscatiello enjoyed a breakout junior season, finishing with a 9-2 record to go along with 94 strikeouts and a 2.00 earned run average over 90.0 innings pitched. His win total was second best in the ECC while the ERA and strikeouts led the league. Moscatiello’s outstanding season earned him a slew of honors. He was a consensus All-Region First Team selection and was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings East Region Pitcher of the Year. Additionally he was a consensus All-American pick by being selected to the ABCA/Rawlings and Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (DIICCA) Third Team and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Honorable Mention list.
2018 ECC Baseball Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. St. Thomas Aquinas (7)||49||44-17 (20-5 ECC)|
|2. LIU Post||41||32-20 (17-8 ECC)|
|3. Molloy||29||21-29 (11-14 ECC)|
|T4. Bridgeport||24||19-25 (13-12 ECC)|
|T4. Queens||24||18-23 (10-15 ECC)|
|6. NYIT||17||5-36-1 (n/a)*|
|7. Mercy||12||10-32 (4-21 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes
* - NYIT played 2017 season as Division I Independent
Preseason Player of the Year: Rob Andreoli, Sr., OF, LIU Post
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Frankie Moscatiello, Sr., St. Thomas Aquinas