Feb. 25, 2004
Senior Ryan Bitter was selected MAAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year in the Conference's Annual Coaches Poll released Tuesday afternoon. The San Diego (Calif.) Mesa Junior College transfer received the same honor from Baseball America in their College Baseball Preview Issue last month. The Saints were chosen fifth in the survey of the 10 league coaches.
Bitter emerged as the Saints top pitcher in his first season last year, earning First Team All-MAAC honors and Conference Pitcher of the Week on three occasions. He posted five shutouts in his final 10 appearances and owned a 6-1 MAAC record with a 0.66 conference ERA. Overall, he was 6-6 with a 3.51 earned run average.
Joining Bitter on the Preseason All-MAAC Team is senior third baseman Tony Cipolla. Cipolla was an All-Conference selection last season after tying for the team lead in batting average (.279) and RBI (27).
Le Moyne received all 10 first-place votes, finishing with 100 points in the poll. Manhattan and Niagara tied for second (78). Marist was fourth with 76 points, while Siena finished fifth with 59 points. Rider placed sixth (50), followed by Iona (49), Saint Peter's (24), Fairfield (23) and Canisius (13).
The Saints finished in a fifth place tie in the MAAC standings last season with a 15-11 record. Siena was 17-35-1 overall. The Saints began their season by taking a weekend series from UNC-Charlotte in North Carolina this past weekend.
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Le Moyne (100)
2. Manhattan (78)
4. Marist (76)
5. Siena (59)
6. Rider (50)
7. Iona (49)
8. Saint Peter's (24)
9. Fairfield (23)
10. Canisius (13)
2004 Preseason Player of the Year: Keith Brachold, Marist
2004 Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Ryan Bitter, Siena