SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior left-hander Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) and senior catcher Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) have been tabbed as the preseason Northeast Conference Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The publication, which released its January edition earlier this month, picked the Bulldogs to win their seventh-consecutive NEC Regular-Season title. It is the sixth-straight season that the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has picked Bryant as the preseason favorite.
In addition to Theetge and Gasper, sophomore Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.), junior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.), senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) and junior Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) were listed as "other top players to watch."
Theetge went 8-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 81 2/3 innings on his way to NEC Pitcher of the Year honors last spring. He was dominant in NEC play, going 7-0 with three complete games and a 2.08 ERA.
Gasper put together an impressive junior season, hitting .342 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 53 RBI, 42 walks and a .470 OBP. He was named the NEC and ECAC Player of the Year following the season. Gasper was his best in the month of April last year, hitting .343 with 28 RBI in 20 games.
The reigning NEC Rookie of the Year, Titus is coming off a freshman season in which he hit .296 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 42 RBI and 42 runs scored. His eight home runs were the most by a rookie in DI program history.
Angelini has put together back-to-back outstanding seasons to start his career, earning All-NEC First Team honors in each season. He hit .318 with 15 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 37 RBI, 46 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 2017.
After missing the 2016 season, Patterson returned to the Bulldogs last spring and was one of the top arms on the team. He went 4-0 with three saves and a 2.90 ERA in 14 appearances. Patterson struck out 38 batters in just 40 1/3 innings and tossed 21-straight scoreless innings during one stretch.
Wrighter emerged as Bryant's go-to arm out of the bullpen last spring, pitching in 26 of the teams 55 games. He went 2-0 with a save and a 1.80 ERA in 40 innings. Wrighter, who was an All-NEC Second Team selection, pitching more than an inning in 16 of his 26 outings and appeared in six-straight games at one point.
Bryant opens the 2018 season on Friday, Feb. 16 at the University of Arizona. It will be the first of three between the Bulldogs and Wildcats on opening weekend.