Lions Baseball: Three Lions Earn Preseason All-Conference Honors

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana baseball players Corey Gaconi, Carlisle Koestler and Cody Grosse each earned Preseason All-Conference honors, the Southland Conference office announced Tuesday.Incarnate Word, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi all earned a trio of selections while Abilene Christian, McNeese, New Orleans and Stephen F. Austin each earned two picks. Central Arkansas, Lamar and Nicholls each garnered one spot. The Lions and UIW lead the way with a pair of their selections being named to the first team, including Southeastern pitcher and two-time all-conference honoree Corey Gaconi. The senior from Metairie, Louisiana, came on strong during the 2018 stretch run. He entered tournament week having tossed back-to-back complete games, including a two-hit shutout at conference champ Sam Houston State that earned the right-hander Southland Pitcher of the Week honors.

Gaconi wrapped up the season with a 7-1 record and 3.15 ERA, ranking second in the conference with three complete games. Gaconi issued just 1.8 walks (per 9 innings) on a staff that allowed the third-fewest BB/9 in the nation (2.47). His season totals of 62 strikeouts and 16 walks allowed combined for a 3.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, third-best on a staff that finished seventh in the nation (3.08). Following a complete-game win March 14 over No. 19-ranked Mississippi State, Gaconi compiled the lowest ERA (2.08) among the pitchers in Southeastern’s starting rotation.

Koestler, also a first-team selection, dominated opponents throughout the 2018 season with a mix of pitches and various deliveries, earning a big pair of early season wins over No. 20-ranked UL Lafayette and No. 14-ranked LSU The redshirt senior from Vicksburg, Mississippi, finished with a 7-1 record and a 2.68 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched. With 73 strikeouts and only 13 walks issued, he maintained a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.95) while holding opponents to a .221 batting average. He ranked among the national leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.6) and BB/9 (1.34), serving as the poster boy for Southeastern’s pitching philosophy that led the entire staff to a top-10 ranking nationally in both categories.

Grosse, a second-team selection, set the table at the top of the Lions’ batting order for the bulk of the 2018 season, hitting .314 with a conference-leading 56 runs scored, 10 doubles, five triples, 29 RBI, 28 walks and 20 stolen bases. He led the team with 75 hits and ranked third in the Southland Conference in stolen bases. His triples rank fifth in the Lions’ single-season record book.

The senior second baseman from Plainfield, Illinois, helped spark the Lions to an undefeated week in mid-March, picking up wins over Purdue, then No. 19-ranked Mississippi State and a series sweep at conference-foe Lamar that vaulted Southeastern into the regular-season national rankings for the first time since 2010.
Southland preseason all-conference teams are nominated and voted upon by the league’s head coaches. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted. Returning all-conference selections from the previous season are automatically named to the preseason teams and may be elevated to higher teams based on available positions.

The 2019 Southland Baseball Preseason Poll is slated to be released Thursday. The NCAA Division I regular season begins Friday, Feb. 15, with 13 games scheduled, including Southeastern’s matchup with Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

Article courtesy of Southeastern Sports Information Department.

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