SOMERSET, N.J. – The Quinnipiac University baseball team was picked to finish eighth in the Northeast Conference 2012 Preseason Poll, as voted on by the conference's coaches, and announced by the conference office on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Quinnipiac finished the 2011 in seventh place in the conference standings at 11-21 in NEC play and 15-32 overall.
Monmouth was tabbed as the favorite to win the conference, garnering four first-place votes, followed by Sacred Heart, with four first-place votes, and Central Connecticut State, who also earned a first-place vote. Bryant and LIU Brooklyn rounded out the NEC's top five, followed by Mount St. Mary's, Wagner, Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart topped Monmouth, 9-2, in last season's NEC Tournament Championship Game.
Leading the Bobcats in 2012 will be senior catcher Kyle Nisson (Wallingford, Conn.). Nisson was an All-NEC Second Team selection as a junior, becoming the first catcher in Quinnipiac history to all All-NEC honors. Nisson batted a team- and career-best .336 (51-152) while also posting a program-best .399 on-base percentage. Behind the plate, his .973 fielding percentage and 14 base runners thrown-out ranked second among all NEC catchers.
The Bobcats will also look to first baseman Gabe Guerino (Guilford, Conn.) to shoulder some of the offensive weight of the team's line-up as he enters his senior season with a team-leading 134 career hits. Sophomore Nic Civale (East Windsor, Conn.) is a talented middle infielder who started 14 games as a freshman in 2011. Classmate Zak Palmer (Mahwah, N.J.) started in 44 games, ranking among the team leaders in batting average and runs batted in (17).
The Bobcats' rotation will feature Anthony Cinelli (Wall, N.J.), George Dummar (North Branford, Conn.) and Derek Lamacchia (Whitestone, N.Y.), once again, as the trio combined for 10 of Quinnipiac's 15 wins for the year. Cinelli was 3-4, while Dummar was 3-7 with 40 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings pitched, good for second on the roster. Lamacchia led the squad with four wins in his sophomore year, while also posting a team-best 3.41 earned-run average in a team-leading 63 1/3 innings pitched. Lamacchia also led the team with 47 strikeouts. Nick Fabrizio (Peabody, Mass.) earned two starts as a freshman, and after showing great promise in the fall's annual City Series, will be looked on to contribute on the mound for the Bobcats. Senior Matthew Siciliano (Ardmore, Pa.) led all Bobcat relievers with a 4.00 ERA in 14 appearances, while striking out 19 batters in 18 innings pitched. Over his last seven appearances he compiled a 0.79 ERA in 11.1 innings, striking out 10 batters and limiting opposing hitters to a .135 (5/37) batting average.
Quinnipiac opens the season on Friday, March 2 when they travel to Bronx, N.Y. to play a non-conference doubleheader against Fordham at 12 p.m. The Bobcats also have a twin-bill schedule for March 3 at Hofstra before heading South to face Richmond (Mar. 9-11) and William & Mary (Mar. 12 & 13). The Bobcats open Northeast Conference play at Wagner on Friday, March 16.
The nine NEC members will each play a scheduled 32 conference games, the outcomes of which will determine the 2012 NEC Tournament Field. The top four finishers in the league's regular season standings will earn the privilege to compete at the 19th annual Northeast Conference Baseball Championship, which will unfold from May 17-20 at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT.