Montclair, NJ (2/17/11) - The Montclair State baseball team was picked to finish third as the New Jersey Athletic Conference released its 2011 Preseason Coaches Poll on Thursday.
The Red Hawks, who finished 23-19 in 2010, were chosen behind defending champion Kean Unviversity (eight first-place votes) and regular-season champion Rowan University (two first-place votes). The College of New Jersey was selected fourth followed by Rutgers-Newark, Richard Stockton and William Paterson. Ramapo College, Rutgers-Camden and New Jersey City rounded out the poll. Rutgers-Camden was tabbed as the league's "Dark Horse" pick.
State, which finished with a 9-9 mark in conference, ended the year tied for fifth place in the standings and was the sixth seed in the conference tournament. MSU knocked off top-seeded Rowan and Rutgers-Newark in the NJAC Tournament before suffering back-to-back losses to Kean and The College of New Jersey.
Head coach Norm Schoenig returns for his 23 season as the Red Hawks' skipper. Schoenig, currently the longest tenured baseball coach in the league, has produced a 660-358-10 overall record during his tenure.
Schoenig will have the services of four returning all-conference players from its 2010 squad including junior catcher Kevin Bond (Cedar Grove, NJ / Cedar Grove), senior outfielder Michael Boggi (Towaco, NJ / Montville), junior left-handed pitcher Sean Hille (Edison, NJ / St. Joseph's (Metuchen)), and junior outfielder Mickey McGraw (Morristown, NJ / Morristown).
Hille went 8-2 in his second season with the Red Hawks and 3.87 ERA in 12 appearances. The southpaw, who was also named All-Region, struck out 68 and walked 19 in 83.2 innings and recorded three complete games. Seven times in his 11 starts in 2010, Hill pitched seven or more innings.
Bond, another All-Region selection, batted .372 with a team-best six homers and 43 RBI. He recorded 61 hits, 11 doubles and a pair of triples while also scoring 31 runs. In addition he was superb behind the plate committing just two errors in 245 chances and also gunned down 17 runners attempting to steal.
Boggi successfully handled 94 of 95 chances in centerfield, including five outfield assists as he earned an All-Region Gold Glove honor. In addition he batted .359 and tied Bond for second on the team with 61 hits. The junior led the team with 17 doubles and also added a triple, two homers and 38 RBI.
McGraw led the team with 12 stolen bases and also hit .371 with 49 hits, 37 runs scored and 27 RBI.