Pitcher of the Year: Former Brother Martin Star Named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year
HAMMOND, La. – Southeastern Louisiana right-hander Corey Gaconi was named the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, the league office announced Monday along with the All-Conference and All-Defensive teams.
Jared Biddy, Gaconi and Kyle Schimpf each earned All-Conference honors. Brennan Breaud, Preston Faulkner, Cody Grosse and Mason Knopp were honorable mentions. Grosse and Nick Ray both earned All-Defensive honors.
Gaconi wrapped up the regular season with a 7-2 record and a career-low 2.32 ERA, earning first-team honors. He ranks fifth nationally in fewest walks issued per nine innings (0.84) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.67). Earlier this season, he went 48.0 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. Gaconi is second in the conference in wins, third in strikeouts (87), fourth in innings pitched (97.0) and fifth in ERA.
A senior from Metairie, Louisiana, he earned Academic All-District honors earlier this month. Twice this season he was named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week (April 1, April 22) and Louisiana Pitcher of the Week (April 22, May 13). The right-hander has shut out two-time defending conference champ Sam Houston State in each of his last two starts against the Bearkats.
Biddy earned third-team honors after finishing the regular season with a 1-2 record, 10 saves and a 2.60 ERA. A senior from Iowa Park, Texas, he averaged more than one strikeout (46) per inning pitched (45.0). He did not pick up his first save until one month into the season, yet ranks second in the Southland in saves.
Schimpf earned third-team honors after finishing the regular season as the Lions’ leader in batting average (.293) and RBIs (46). With 10 doubles and nine home runs he owns a .473 slugging percentage. The senior from Covington, Louisiana, has been hit by eight pitches and walked (33) more times than he has struck out (28), generating a .404 on-base percentage. Schimpf ranks fourth in the Southland in walks and fifth in RBIs. Earlier this month he earned Academic All-District honors.
Grosse, a shortstop, turned in a .965 fielding percentage, committing just eight errors in 231 chances. He finished the regular season hitting .267 with nine doubles, four triples and one home run. Grosse scored 48 runs and drove in another 38. He walked (25) more times than he struck out (25) and was hit by 11 pitches. A senior from Plainfield, Illinois, Grosse ranks second in the Southland in stolen bases (23), fourth in triples, fifth in runs scored and ninth in HBPs.
Ray, a left fielder, turned in .979 fielding percentage, committing a pair of errors in 96 chances. He contributed five outfield assists. He finished the regular season hitting .250 with four doubles, four triples, six home runs and 38 RBIs. The redshirt freshman from Jefferson, Louisiana, was named the Southland Conference Hitter of the Week (March 25) following a three-home run performance against Abilene Christian. He ranks fourth in the Southland in triples.
Breaud finished the regular season hitting .257 with a career-high 10 doubles and two triples. He scored 34 runs and drove in another 21 for the Lions. Both triples came in the same game, April 27 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, tying a program single-game record. The senior from Norco, Louisiana, ranks eighth in the Southland in stolen bases (14). He needs just two more starts to become the program’s career record-holder in games started by a position player.
Faulkner finished the regular season hitting .284 with a team-leading 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 46 RBIs. Maturing as a hitter as the season wore on, he has blasted eight home runs over the last half of the season and leads the team in game-winning RBIs. The sophomore from Denham Springs, Louisiana, ranks fifth in the Southland in both home runs and RBIs, sixth in doubles and ninth in runs scored (45).
Knopp finished the regular season with a 7-2 record and a 4.43 ERA. He struck out 52 batters in 63.0 innings pitched and held batters to a .240 opponent batting average. Knopp fanned a career-high 13 batters against Northwestern State on Super Lion Saturday (April 13). The senior right-hander from Fort Scott, Kansas, ranks second in the Southland in wins and ninth in batters that struck out looking (23).
No. 3-seeded Southeastern (30-25, 19-11 Southland) faces No. 6-seeded Stephen F. Austin (24-31, 16-14 Southland) in the opening game of the 2019 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament, setting up a potential pitching matchup featuring Gaconi and fellow first-team pitcher Alex Palmer of the Lumberjacks. First pitch is slated for 9 a.m. Wednesday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.
Article courtesy of Southeastern Sports Information Department.