The MAAC baseball coaches don't expect Siena to repeat its 2014 conference championship. The Saints were picked a distant fourth in the annual Preseason Poll released by the conference office Wednesday.
Defending regular-season champion Canisius (115 points) was selected first, followed by Fairfield (107) and Monmouth (89). After Siena (83) came Quinnipiac (73), Manhattan (61), Rider (55), Marist (50), Niagara (38), Iona (35) and Saints Peter's (20).
Siena sophomore outfielder Dan Swain (Newton, Mass.) - the 2014 MAAC Rookie of the Year - was the only Saint selected to the 12-man preseason team.
Siena is coming off an historic season in which it won its fifth MAAC Championship and first ever NCAA game - a thrilling come-from-behind 9-8 extra inning win over Dallas Baptist in the Fort Worth Regional. The Saints lost 2014 MAAC Tournament MVP Vincent Citro and 2014 MAAC co-Relief Pitcher of the Year Neil Fryer to graduation, and ace Matt Gage to the MLB Draft (10th Round - San Francisco).
Still, Siena returns an intriguing mix of veteran experience and young talent, led by senior third baseman Justin Esquerra - the team's top run producer last season. Senior Ed Lewicki anchors the pitching staff, but won't be ready Opening Day (appendicitis). Junior Bryan Goossens pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer, and Matt Quintana may be the top returning reliever in the conference. Quintana was named Futures League Pitcher of the Year after an unworldly summer on Martha's Vineyard.
Siena's traditionally arduous schedule begins next weekend with a three-game set at Central Florida.