PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Three Little East Conference (LEC) baseball programs made Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Division III preseason listing for 2019, two of which are ranked in the top-15 in the nation. Defending LEC champion UMass Boston is ranked ninth, while the University of Southern Maine is ranked 12th. LEC newcomer Castleton University is among the teams receiving voted in the preseason poll.
UMass Boston posted an overall record of 37-10 last season on its way to capturing the 2018 Little East regular season and tournament titles. The Beacons clinched their third conference tournament championship with a 13-0 seven-inning victory over Eastern Connecticut. UMass Boston then advanced to the NCAA Division III New England Region final, posting a record of 3-2 in the tournament with both losses coming to regional champion SUNY Oswego.
The Beacons spent the entire 2018 season ranked in the top-10 of the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and D3baseball. Com polls, including the program's first-ever No. 1 national ranking by both organizations. UMass Boston was ranked sixth by CBN and 10th by D3baseball.com in their final polls of the year.
Southern Maine posted a 30-15 overall record in 2018, and finished third in the final LEC standings with a league record of 9-5. The Huskies had an early exit from the conference tournament, but received an at-large selection to participate in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the New York Regional final. The Huskies were 3-2 at the regional, with both losses coming against regional champion Swarthmore.
Southern Maine was either nationally ranked or among the teams receiving votes throughout the 2018 campaign. The Huskies finished the year ranked 17th by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and 18th by D3baseball.com.
Castleton is also coming off a 30-win season in 2018, finishing the year with a record of 30-12. The Spartans clinched their fifth consecutive North Atlantic Conference tournament championship with a 22-5 rout of New England College after locking up the regular season title with a 21-3 league record. Castleton was sent to the Mid-Atlantic Regional, where it was eliminated following a 4-3 loss Virginia Wesleyan University.