College Preview

2006 America East Conference Preview




HOW THEY'LL FINISH



Conference
Overall


W
L
W
L
1. +Maine
14
7
35
19
2. Vermont
14
7
29
19
3. Binghamton
12
8
23
26
4. Stony Brook
10
11
23
28
5. Albany
10
11
20
19
6. Maryland-Baltimore County
6
15
16
34
7. Hartford
3
18
6
30
+ 2005 conference tournament champion; NCAA regional participants in boldface (2005 records listed; 2006 national ranking in parentheses)
* 2005 conference leader

Projected NCAA Teams (1): Maine.
Conference Schedule: 24 games. Schedule begins April 7.
Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 25-28 at highest-seeded team with lights.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
* 2005 conference leader

C—Tom Pennino, Sr., Stony Brook (.272-2-23). 1B—Brendon Hitchcock, Jr., Binghamton (*.399-5-35). 2B—Steve Wyland, Jr., Albany (.357-1-27). 3B—Curt Smith, So., Maine (.343-3-38). SS—Miguel Magrass, Jr., Vermont (.356-3-38). OF—Isidoro Fortuna, Sr., Stony Brook (.357-5-37); Joe Hough, Jr., Maine (.336-6-36, *21 SB); Ryan Quintal, Sr., Maine (.335-7-49). DH--Joel Barrett, Jr., Maine (.340-7-43). P—Troy Martin, Sr., Maine (8-2, 4.02); Greg Norton, Sr., Maine (9-4, 3.15); Joe Serafini, So., Vermont (6-2, 2.73, 59 IP/57 SO).

Player of the Year: Miguel Magrass, ss, Vermont.
Top Newcomer: Billy Cather, of, Maine (Fr., HS—Worcester, Mass.).

PROJECTED TOP PROSPECT, 2006-07 DRAFTS

Miguel Magrass, 3b, Vermont.

SHORT HOPS

• Northeastern won the regular season in its final two seasons in the America East Conference but was upset in the league tournament both years, costing the Huskies NCAA regional berths. Northeastern since has joined the Colonial Athletic Association.

• Maine won the conference tournament a year ago but suffered two major losses when coach Paul Kostacopoulos left for Navy and junior RHP Steve Richard (9-1, 2.07) transferred to Clemson. Richard led the conference in wins and ERA while striking out 90 in 100 innings. Steve Trimper, previously the coach at Manhattan, is the new Black Bears coach. Rebuilding Maine will have three freshmen in its starting lineup.

• Binghamton 3B Mathieu Bergeron, the league’s player of the year, led the America East with 16 homers and 55 RBIs but chose not to return to school for personal reasons. In Bergeron’s absence, Vermont junior SS Miguel Magrass (.356-3-38) and Maine junior OF Joe Hough (.336-6-36, 21 SB), MVP of the conference tournament, will likely contend for player of the year honors. Interestingly, Magrass and Hough grew up on the same block in West Roxbury, Mass.

• This season marks the 100th that Vermont athletic teams have played at Burlington’s historic Centennial Field. The Catamounts share the facility with the short-season New York-Penn League’s Vermont Lake Monsters (formerly the Expos). The current grandstand was erected in 1922, making it the oldest current minor league park in the U.S.

• Maine will play its first 26 games on the road, including 13 games in Florida. The Black Bears will open at home on April 13.