RMU softball kicks off season with new changes and faces across the NEC

Delenn Poe, Softball Beat Writer

MOON TOWNSHIP — With the Robert Morris softball season getting started yesterday, here is a quick preview on all the teams in the NEC.

1. Saint Francis

Saint Francis was the 2017 and 2018 NEC Champion, which guaranteed them a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The team traveled to Arizona for the Tucson regional before heading to the tournament, the team ended their season with 19 game winning streak. SFU was undefeated in conference with a record of 16-0, with several of those games ending in a mercy rule. Last season, the team lost their first game in the NCAA Tournament to one of the top teams in the country, the Arizona Wildcats. In the second game of the tournament, they went into the losers bracket to play Mississippi State. They would eventually fall to the Bulldogs 11-5.

2. Central Connecticut

Central Connecticut was second in the NEC standings tied with Sacred Heart with a 10-6 in conference record but had an overall record of 19-30. The team has been in the middle of the standings for the past three seasons and they had played some big names in softball such as Arkansas and Michigan State.

3. Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart was just six games behind Saint Francis last season as they finished with a 31-25 overall record. Their season came to an end after falling to LIU Brooklyn in the NEC tournament. The team was picked to finish first in 2019 NEC preseason poll.

4. Fairleigh Dickinson

Fairleigh Dickinson has seven freshmen coming on to the team this year and they already have six players sign early for the 2020 season. With this infusion of youth, the Knights will hope to turn things around for the program. The team’s all-time record is 244-517 with the average of (.321) and an all-time NEC tournament record is 0-4. The team has 12 returning players from last season and will look to improve upon their 17-26 overall record from a season to go.

5. LIU Brooklyn

LIU Brooklyn was the last team to clinch a spot in the NEC Tournament due to their record being tied with Fairleigh Dickinson. The Blackbirds have already started their season at the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Kickoff Classic in which the team went (2-3). They allowed 24 runs to be scored by their opponents and the Blackbirds were able to score 11 runs.

6. Bryant

Bryant was sixth in the NEC standings behind Mount Saint Mary’s with a record of 14-31 overall. The team started out the season playing some difficult teams like Arizona, Washington and Oregon to get practice before the season starts.

7. Mount Saint Mary’s

Mount Saint Mary’s season starts on Friday, February 15 and the Mountaineers are 10-28 all-time in season openers. The Mount lost the 2018 season opener to North Texas 6-2. The Mountaineer’s last win in a season opener was a 14-1 victory over North Carolina Central on Feb. 25, 2017. Head coach Anna Nagro begins her ninth season with Mountaineers softball program, the longest tenure by a head coach in the program.

8. Wagner

Wagner’s season starts on February 15 as they head to the East Carolina University (ECU) Pirate Clash. Second-year head coach Lindsey Ubrun has announced the hiring of former Loyola Marymount stand out Sabrina Tebou as the team’s new assistant coach. The Seahawks added four newcomers to their team plus the rest of the team has a lot of experience at the collegiate level.

9. Robert Morris

Robert Morris had a rough season last year with a record of 10-36 overall and 1-15 in the NEC. They were last in the conference and ended their season with a 14 game losing streak. The team has gone through big changes since last season as their head coach Craig Coleman resigned as coach. Assistant coach Jexx Varner is currently the interim head coach for the Colonials. RMU started their season yesterday with two losses to the Longwood Lancers.