Dowling Chosen to Claim 2011 ECC Baseball Title; LaRusso and Duran Earn Preseason Honors

Dowling Chosen to Claim 2011 ECC Baseball Title; LaRusso and Duran Earn Preseason Honors

Central Islip, N.Y. - With three first place votes and 42 total points, the Dowling College Golden Lions have been tabbed as the 2011 ECC Baseball Preseason favorite.  Molloy College holds the number two spot while defending ECC Champion C.W. Post rounds out the top three.

The Golden Lions return eight position players who started at least 25 games as well as four pitchers who tossed at least 40 innings from the team that finished with a 19-24 record in the 2010 campaign. Dowling will also look to have several key members of the 2009 team that made an appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series, bounce back from an injury plagued season last year.

Molloy grabbed one first place votes and amassed 39 points to claim the No. 2 spot on the poll. Last season, Molloy compiled an overall record of 30-24 and an ECC record of 20-10, while advancing to the championship game of the ECC Playoffs.  C.W. Post, with a record of 32-17-1 overall and 22-8 in conference play, were last year’s ECC Champions and NCAA East Regional participants.  The Pioneers received two first place votes to come in third in the preseason poll. The St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans received the final first place vote.

Molloy senior first baseman/catcher Robert LaRusso has been selected as the 2011 Preseason Player of the Year.  LaRusso is coming off a season in which he hit .321 with 5 homeruns and a conference leading 49 RBI. He also led the ECC in doubles (18), while finishing second in homeruns, total bases (94), walks (26), and slugging percentage (.526).  These numbers earned him Daktronics All-Northeast Second-Team and ECC All-Conference First Team accolades.

Gabriel Duran of Dowling College has been tabbed the Preseason Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season.  After being named the NCBWA and Daktronics National Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore, Duran might have had an even better season as a junior.  During the 2010 season, Duran compiled 5 wins and a Division II leading 0.74 ERA over 60.2 innings. Opposing batters managed just 31 hits for a .150 batting average, while striking out 68 times to put him in the Dowling record books as their strikeout king. Last season also saw Duran toss no-hitters against Bridgeport and Mercy. His outstanding performance on the mound earned him ECC Pitcher of the Year honors for the second straight year, as well as Daktronics, NCBWA, and ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-America selections. Baseball America also recently named him a Preseason All-American for the 2011 season.

2011 East Coast Conference Preseason Poll

School Points
1. Dowling (3) 42
2. Molloy (1) 39
3. C.W. Post (2) 37
4. St. Thomas Aquinas (1)      34
5. Bridgeport 16
6. Mercy 15
7. Queens 13


() - First place votes


Preseason Player of the Year:  Robert LaRusso, Sr., 1B/C, Molloy
Preseason Pitcher of the Year:  Gabriel Duran, Sr., Dowling