LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - In exclusive voting by the head coaches of the conference, Texas Lutheran and Trinity each received three first-place votes and tied as the top choice to walk away with the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball title.
Centenary, last season’s regular season champion, was the coaches’ third pick with 33 points while Southwestern, who picked up one first-place vote, finished fourth with 30 points. Dallas and Schreiner tied for fifth with 16 points and Austin College rounded out the rankings with 13 points.
Both TLU and Trinity, who received 44 points each in the coaches’ preseason balloting, are expected to be national contenders as the two were ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the nation in the D3baseball.com/National College Baseball Writers Association Preseason Top 25 poll which came out earlier this month.
The defending SCAC tournament champions, Texas Lutheran went 42-12 a year ago and made a run to the NCAA Division III national championship series before falling to the University of Texas at Tyler. Head Coach Greg Burnett, who sports a career mark of 306-172 – the third-most wins in program history – returns for his 12th season at the helm of the Bulldog program.
Leading the returnees from last year’s national runner-up squad are senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Malinovsky and junior outfielder Tyler Cauley, who were each named D3baseball.com Preseason All-Americans.
Malinovsky led the SCAC with 12 wins and a 1.38 ERA a season ago and was a First Team All-America selection by both D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings. Cauley had a league-leading 12 home runs and 66 runs batted in while sporting a .371 batting average (fifth in the SCAC) as he earned Third Team All-America honors from both organizations.
Led by head coach Tim Scannell, Trinity went 33-9 last season and made it to the second round of the SCAC tournament before being knocked out by Centenary. In his previous 20 seasons since taking over the reigns of the program, the Tigers have amassed an overall record of 663-254 (.723), including a national title in 2016 when Scannell earned National Coach of the Year honors from four different organizations.
Highlighting this year's returnees for the Tigers are junior outfielder Rafe Chaumette and senior pitcher Jeff Lonnecker, who each earned ABCA and D3baseball.com All-West Region accolades a season ago. Chaumette batted .413 (second in the SCAC) with 47 runs batted in (third in the SCAC), while Lonnecker posted the league’s second-best ERA at 1.90 and struck out 68 (fourth in the SCAC) in just 47.1 innings of work.
|2019 SCAC Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)
|1.||Texas Lutheran University (3)||44|
|Trinity University (3)||44|
|4.||Southwestern University (1)||30|
|5.||University of Dallas||16|