LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa - The Lincoln University baseball team was picked to finished seventh in the eight-team East Coast Conference in a vote of the conference coaches. Molloy received seven of eight first place votes in the coaches' preseason poll to start the 2021 season as the favorite to claim an ECC Baseball Championship.
Lincoln returns 14 letterwinners, including All-ECC nominee Kashif Hill (Brooklyn, N.Y./Benjamin Banneker Academy). The Lions are slated to open the season Saturday with a doubleheader against Mid-Atlantic Christian. They will open ECC action March 26 against D'Youville.
Molloy is also home to the league's Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year with graduate students Sean Hogan (East Meadow, N.Y.) and Timothy Panetta (Broad Channel, N.Y.) earning the honors.
Molloy, who had been to the final of the ECC Championship in two of the prior three seasons was off to a strong start in 2020, compiling a 7-4 record before COVID-19 canceled spring sports throughout the country. With student-athletes granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA due to the pandemic, the majority of that squad returns once again in 2021.
St. Thomas Aquinas, winners of four of the past seven ECC Championships, were the runner-up in the poll. The Spartans received the final first place vote to finish with 54 points, nine behind Molloy.
The final two expected playoff teams are Mercy and Queens after the two schools tied for the No. 3 spot in the poll. Bridgeport kicks off the bottom half of the poll at No. 5. ECC newcomers, Staten Island (No. 6) and D'Youville (No. 8), sandwich Lincoln (Pa.) at No. 7 to round out the poll.
Hogan earns the Preseason Player of the Year award after ranking among the best hitters in the conference for the past three seasons. A two-time All-Conference First Team selection, Hogan ranked in the top-10 in the league in batting average in both 2018 (.374) and 2019 (.348). He was off to a blazing start in 2020, as well. He had seven multi-hit games over Molloy's 11 contests to compile a .452 batting average. He added 15 runs batted in and 13 runs scored.
Panetta has been selected as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season. Panetta struggled in three starts during the abbreviated 2020 season, but earns the honor on the heels of a strong 2019 campaign. He finished that year with a 5-5 record with 69 strikeouts and a 4.16 earned run average over 67.0 innings pitched to earn All-Conference Second Team honors. His win and strikeout totals were both good for sixth in the conference.
Preseason Player of the Year: Sean Hogan, Gr., C, Molloy
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Timothy Panetta, Gr., Molloy