NEWPORT, R.I. - For the first time in program history, the Salve Regina University baseball team earned a spot in a national poll. The defending Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) champion Seahawks (10-2, 2-0 CCC) totaled 52 points to rank No. 26 in the country in an American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) weekly poll released today.
"Salve Regina is extremely proud of our baseball team," director of athletics Jody Mooradian commented. "They have grown as a group into a successful and dedicated team. The leadership within the team is impressive. This team represents the best of Salve. (head coach) Eric Cirella earned national honors as an athlete, and as an Academic All-America© as well, and he has practiced everything he preaches. How special to have him as our head coach. He ties together our past and future with his father as his assistant, and his brother as a new young student-athlete. The national ranking is a great recognition and it is a step toward the final goal."
Eric Cirella, in his fourth season as head coach, has seen his program receive votes in past polls and is thrilled to now see the Seahawks get a Top 30 spot.
"My hope is that this is the start of something special for our program, this year and for years to come. The players and coaches should be extremely proud; they can say they were a part of the first Salve baseball team that was nationally ranked. It should also be mentioned that the baseball alumni have help raise the bar, year after year, with their play on the field and with their support behind the scenes. And the support from the Salve Regina administration and all of the supporting staff, I couldn't do this alone. There are a lot of people behind the scenes that have worked tirelessly to help put our program in the position that it is currently in, and for that I am grateful."
"But make no mistake about it, the polls don't mean a whole heck of a lot when it comes time to compete for a conference championship," Cirella added. "The target on our backs just got significantly larger. Teams are going to want to beat us now more than ever, just to say that ranking was a fluke. It will be interesting to see how we respond to the adversity and the challenge of being in the national poll. Speaking as a coach, I tip my cap to my guys for continually finding ways to win games. But we are far from a finished product and we need to improve in a lot of areas to compete with the best teams in our region and hopefully in the nation. I guess that is what makes my job and this roller-coaster ride of a season so exciting."
Salve Regina has won five straight including sweeping a pair over No. 22/30 Western New England on Saturday. The Seahawks return to action on Wednesday when they host the Rams of Framingham State on Reynolds Field (3:30 p.m.).
Release courtesy of the Salve Regina Sports Information Department.
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and three associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference currently administers championships in 16 intercollegiate sports with that number set to increase next year with the addition of football.