2014 SCAC Baseball Championship - Preview

2014 SCAC Baseball Championship - Preview

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The 2014 SCAC Baseball Championship opens up on Friday, May 2nd and runs through Sunday, May 4th on the campus of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Official Website | Interactive Bracket

The host school and top-seed, Trinity University, with take on No. 4 seed Southwestern University at 1 p.m. followed by the No. 2 seed, Texas Lutheran University against the No. 3 seed, Centenary College, at 4:30 p.m. Three games will take place on Saturday, including two elimination games, and the SCAC championship game will be played at Noon on Sunday (an "if necessary" game would involve the same teams immediately following).

Here is a look at each team heading into the 2014 SCAC Baseball Tournament:

No. 1 Trinity University Tigers
30-8 Overall, 16-2 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .312 (1st in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 2.38 ERA (1st in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Tim Scannell, 16th season 

Defending SCAC Champion Trinity University looks to make it two in a row as it hosts its first SCAC Baseball Tournament since the 1999 season. The Tigers, who have made NCAA postseason play four years in a row, enter this weekend as the No. 4 team in the nation in the latest ABCA poll as well as the No. 12 team in the nation in the D3baseball.com poll. Trinity has won a SCAC-leading seven SCAC championships and looks to continue that winning trend in 2014.

Trinity is the top hitting team in the conference, led by sophomore Drew Butler who has compiled a .378 averaged with eight doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 27 RBIs. Sophomore Jeremy Wolf has been outstanding as well, hitting .353 with a conference-leading 16 doubles, three triples, two long balls, and 34 RBIs.

Reigning SCAC Player of the Year Pat Hirschberg leads the league with seven home runs to go with 37 RBIs (second in the SCAC) and 42 runs scored (second in the SCAC). Sophomore Connor Moore leads the SCAC in runs scored with 45 and stolen bases with 27 in 30 attempts.

On the mound, the Tigers are tops in the conference with a 2.38 ERA and hold opponents to a .225 batting average. Trinity is led by junior Zack Speer who has a 1.99 ERA to go along with an 8-1 record in 11 starts. In his 63.1 innings on the bump, Speer has 52 strikeouts, which leads the SCAC, and has walked 19.

The Tigers have three other starters in sophomore Ryan Gray (3-0, 2.01 ERA), sophomore Michael Walker (4-2, 2.54 ERA), and senior Kyle Bogese (5-1, 3.77) who will all be counted on for contributions this weekend.

In the bullpen, Trinity has a large group of relievers that have had plenty of success this season. The group includes senior Matt Tindall (13.2 IP, 0.00 ERA), freshman Kevin Flores (19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA), junior Trent Rape (14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA), senior Carter Lauck (20.1 IP, 2.21 ERA), and sophomore Teddy Turner (32.2 IP, 3.58 ERA, two saves) - all of who could be called upon in this weekend's championship tournament.

No. 2 Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs
25-15 Overall, 11-7 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .281(3rd in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 3.04 ERA (2nd in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Greg Burnett, 7th season  

Texas Lutheran University, which moved from the American Southwest Conference to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference prior to the 2014 season, has put together a successful first-year in its new conference, going 25-15 overall and 11-7 in the SCAC. The Bulldogs won the Western Division in the ASC a year ago, as well as in 2009 and 2010, and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament over that stretch.

Sophomore Keaton Bohrmann leads the Texas Lutheran offense with five home runs and 25 runs driven in to go with a .314 averaged, seven doubles, two triples, and 26 runs scored. Senior Derek Kanas comes in with a .305 average including 11 doubles, 17 RBIs, and 26 runs scored while senior Christian DeBlanc has a .344 average with eight doubles and 17 RBIs.

Junior Tony Gennusa in second in the SCAC with 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts to go with a .280 averaged, a team leading 27 runs scored, eight doubles, one triples, three home runs, and 19 RBIs.

On the mound, the Bulldogs enter the SCAC tournament with a team ERA of 3.04, which is second in the conference. Texas Lutheran is led by junior Dwayne Snider who is 5-3 with a 1.60 ERA and three complete games in 10 starts. In addition, Snider has two shutouts, 51 strikeouts, and only 23 walks in 73.1 innings pitched.

Junior Aaron Aleman has also been impressive in a starting role, coming in with a 2.82 ERA and a 7-2 record. In 60.2 innings pitched, Aleman has 46 strikeouts and 19 walks. Senior Kellan McGriff is the third starter with a 5-2 record and a 4.07 ERA.

In the bullpen, senior Conner Capdau has posted a 2-1 record with an ERA of 1.42 and 25 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched. DeBlanc (22.2 IP, 1.99 ERA), junior Thomas Harwell (25.1 IP, 3.20 ERA), sophomore Cody Moore (23.1 IP, 3.47 ERA), and senior Blake Balazs (18.1 IP, 5.40 ERA) will look to make huge impacts in the tournament.

No. 3 Centenary College Gents
18-20 Overall, 11-7 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .294 (2nd in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 4.71 ERA (3rd in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Mike Diaz, 4th season

Centenary College, in its second year in the conference, is making its second straight appearance in the SCAC championship tournament, which includes a run to the 2013 title game before falling to Trinity. The Gents lost a huge portion of their squad from a year ago, but a young, hungry team looks for a return to championship Sunday at this year's event.

The Gents have some dangerous bats in their lineup, led by freshmen Chris Jones and Aaron Quintanilla. Jones comes in with a .372 average including six doubles, three triples and 27 RBIs along with 27 runs scored. Quintanilla's numbers are almost identical, hitting .377 with six doubles, three triples, and 27 RBIs, 23 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases.

Another newcomer who has been huge for Centenary is Michael Schimpf. The freshman is hitting .321 with a team leading seven doubles to go with one triple, one home run, and 16 RBIs. Schimpf has scored 25 runs and is a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen bases.

The mound is where Centenary has somewhat struggled in 2014, but the starting rotation has been solid behind junior Layton Tromba, sophomore Paul Arcement, and sophomore Holden Novak. Tromba enters with a 3.28 ERA and a 3-3 record, which includes 37 strikeouts and only 11 walks in 68.2 innings pitched. He also has four complete games and a shutout.

Arcement has a 3-4 record with a 3.32 ERA and three complete games while Novak has a 5-2 record with a 3.21 ERA. The three are Centenary's top pitchers on the squad based on ERA.

In the bullpen, junior Taylor Henry (45.1 IP, 6.35 ERA), senior Trey Lavespere (19.1 IP, 4.66 ERA), freshman Grant Debevec (21.0 IP, 7.29 ERA), and junior Trey Guccione (11.0 IP, 4.09 ERA) lead the Gents and the group will need to step up their performances if Centenary is to make another title game run this year.

No. 4 Southwestern University Pirates
14-26 Overall, 10-8 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .265 (5th in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 5.00 ERA (4th in the SCAC)
Head Coach: R.J. Thomas, 2nd season

Southwestern University may be the hottest team in the field heading into this weekend's SCAC Tournament. In its last 10 conference games, Southwestern has won nine of those games, which includes taking two of three against the No. 2 seed Texas Lutheran and a three-game sweep of the University of Dallas with the tournament's No. 4 seed on the line.

Southwestern, a traditional baseball power with five conference championships since joining the league in 1995, is seeking its first SCAC baseball title since 2002. That being said, head coach R.J. Thomas has a history of shocking the conference as his Hendrix College squad won the SCAC baseball tournament as a No. 3 from the West Division in 2009, giving the program its one and only SCAC baseball title. His Pirates will be seeking a similar Cinderella run at this year's event.

Offensively, Southwestern is led by freshman Clayton Sparks, who enters this year's tournament with a .310 average and seven doubles, two triples, and 25 RBIs. Sophomore Charlie St. Clair adds a .297 average with seven doubles, one triple, 14 RBIs, a team-leading 26 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts. The Pirates have already set a school record in stolen bases this season and currently have 106 steals in 138 attempts.

On the mound, the Pirates are led by freshman Jacob Kendra who has compiled a 3.97 ERA in nine starts with a record of 5-1. The team has also gotten starts from junior Joseph Koch (0-3, 4.08 ERA), senior Jason Stading (1-5, 4.75 ERA), and freshman Brett Marcom (2-5, 6.27 ERA), who has a no-hitter this season.

The Southwestern bullpen has found success this season, led by the efforts of freshman Jeremy Rice and junior Matt Litz. Rice has made six appearances and two starts, pitching 22.0 innings and compiling a record of 1-1 and a 3.27 ERA. Litz has made 14 appearances and has compiled a 1-2 record with a 3.57 ERA including two saves. Junior Carl Mueller will also be a primary component out of the pen, as he has tossed 37.0 innings in 17 appearances with a 3.89 ERA.

For complete coverage of the 2014 SCAC Baseball Championship, including links to live stats, live video, interactive brackets, and much more, click here: