LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Riley Schaefer of Texas Lutheran University was voted the Offensive Player-of-the-Year and his teammate Nathan Malinovsky was selected the league's Pitcher-of-the-Year in exclusive 2018 all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) voting by the conference's head coaches. It is the second time in three years that Malinovsky has earned the league's highest pitching award. Complete Release
In the same balloting, Jack Wisniewski of Trinity University was named the conference's Freshman-of-the-Year, while Centenary head coach Mike Diaz and Trinity head coach Tim Scannell split the vote to share SCAC Coach-of-the-Year honors.
As for the All-SCAC team, Texas Lutheran earned a league-high five First Team selections, followed by Centenary and Trinity with three each. Trinity led the way with a combined nine (First/Second Team) selections.
Schaefer, a junior outfielder from Thorndale, Texas, is ranked in the top five in the offense in almost every offensive category heading into this weekend's conference tournament. He leads the league in hits (73) and runs (53) and is second in batting average (.427), slugging percentage (.661), home runs (eight) and total bases (113). He is also third in stolen bases (18), fourth in runs driven in (38) and fifth in on-base percentage (.469). A three-time SCAC Player-of-the-Week during the regular season, Schaefer was also thrice selected to the D3baseball.com Team-of-the-Week, including this past week when he hit .538 with a double, a triple, two home runs, seven RBIs and seven runs scored in a three-game sweep of Austin College. Since Texas Lutheran joined the SCAC prior to the 2014 season, Schaefer is the first baseball student-athlete to earn Player-of-the-Year honors.
Schaefer received four votes in the balloting for SCAC Player-of-the-Year. Sophomore outfielder Rafe Chaumette of Trinity picked up two first-place votes and sophomore third baseman Nathan Patton received the remaining vote.
Malinovsky, a junior right-hander from New Braunfels, Texas, heads into this weekend's SCAC tournament with a league-leading 10 wins against just one loss in 14 appearances. He is also tops in the league in ERA (1.39), complete games (four) and shutouts (two) and is second in the conference in innings pitched (84.0) and strikeouts (88). Along with this teammate Dylan Drgac who also has 10 wins on the year, Malinovsky is one of just 22 players in league history to win 10+ games in a single season. He earned SCAC Player-of-the-Week honors in Week 9 when he tossed eight innings and allowed just two earned runs with 12 strike outs in an 8-4 victory over then No. 1 Trinity. Malinovsky, who earned the award as a freshman in 2016, is just the fourth player in league history to earn multiple SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year honors, following Teddy Hymel of Millsaps College (1994 and 1996), Robert Flanagan of Rhodes College (2006 and 2007) and Ben Klimesh of Trinity (2011 and 2012).
Malinovsky received four votes in the SCAC Player-of-the-Year balloting, narrowly out-pointing senior right-hander Cole Lavergne of Centenary who received the remaining three first-place votes.
Wisniewski, a first-year shortstop from San Antonio, Texas, has been an effective addition to Trinity's lineup. He has started 15 games, including getting the nod for the last 14 matchups, and is batting .358 over 24 appearances with 14 runs driven and 11 runs scored. In conference play, the first-year had the third-highest batting average in the conference (.450), fourth-highest slugging percentage (.625) and fifth-highest on-base percentage (.489). Wisniewski becomes just the second Trinity player to receive Freshman-of-the-Year honors since the accolade began in 2008. Christian Muscarello earned the distinction in 2011.
Wisniewski received three votes in a tightly contested SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year vote. First-year designated hitter Jeffrey Williams of Schreiner University received two votes in the balloting while first-year shortstop Peyton Cormane of Centenary and first-year second baseman Seth Sparks of Southwestern University both received one vote each.
Centenary head coach Mike Diaz led the Gents to their third SCAC regular season title in the last four years and the top seed in this weekend's postseason tournament. Centenary is 24-14 heading into this weekend's play and earned the regular season title with a 15-3 conference mark. A year after dominating the competition with a powerful offense, this year's version of the Gents relied more on quickness, defense and pitching to finish atop the conference standings. Centenary currently leads the league in stolen bases (97), fielding percentage (.968) and shutouts (7), and the Gents' pitching staff posted the best ERA in the league during the regular season, allowing just 2.48 earned runs per conference contest. In his eight years at the helm of the Gents program and heading into this weekend's conference tournament, Diaz has amassed a 190-137 overall record, an 81-29 (.736) conference mark and SCAC regular season titles in 2013, 2015, 2017 and this season. This is the fourth SCAC Coach-of-the-Year honor for Diaz.
In his 20th year at the helm of the Trinity program, head coach Tim Scannell has led the Tigers to a 33-7 overall mark (14-4 in conference place) and the current No. 4 national ranking according to D3baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Trinity also sits atop the NCAA Division III West Region rankings. The winningest Trinity baseball coach in history, Scannell has amassed a career record of 663-252 (heading into this weekend's SCAC tournament) since taking over as head coach in 1999, including 275 conference wins (the second-most conference wins in any sport in SCAC history). Trinity has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation this season, and the team's win total marks the 16th time the Tigers have achieved a 30-plus win season in the past 20 years. For his efforts, Coach Scannell was earned a share of the SCAC Coach of the Year for the 10th time, making him the most decorated baseball coach in conference history.
2018 SCAC Player-of-the-Year
Riley Schaefer, Texas Lutheran University, Junior, Outfielder, Thorndale, Texas
2018 SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year
Nathan Malinovsky, Texas Lutheran University, Junior, Pitcher, New Braunfels, Texas
2018 SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year
Jack Wisniewski, Trinity University, Freshman, Shortstop, San Antonio, Texas
2018 SCAC Co-Coaches-of-the-Year
Mike Diaz, Centenary College / 24-14 Overall Record (15-3 SCAC) / Top Tourney Seed
Tim Scannell, Trinity University / 33-7 Overall Record (14-4 SCAC) / #4 NCBWA Poll
For the complete 2018 SCAC All-Conference baseball team, click here.