LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - In exclusive balloting by Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference head baseball coaches, Trinity University was selected as the preseason favorite to capture the SCAC title in 2016.
The Tigers received six of seven first-place votes to tally 48 points and head the league's annual preseason poll.
ABCA/Diamond West Region Coach of the Year Tim Scannell led Trinity to an SCAC title and a historic NCAA postseason run that saw TU land in its first World Series in program history. Following a 40-14 season, Trinity's 2016 roster is packed with 18 seniors including pitcher Ryan Gray who was tabbed as a First-Team Preseason All-American by D3baseball.com. Trinity led the league in nearly every offensive category including batting average (.328), slugging percentage (.454), OBP (.406), total RBI (351), runs scored (404) and hits (614). The Tiger pitchers also combined for a league-best 3.02 ERA.
Texas Lutheran University picked up the remaining first place vote and is the coaches' second choice with 39 points. TLU finished with at 25-14 overall with a 13-5 mark in conference play. The Bulldogs retained five seniors including Justin Law who finished fifth in the league with a .364 batting average and second in OBP (.465).
2015 SCAC regular season champion, Centenary College, is projected at third with 36 points. The Gents retain five seniors including pitcher Holden Novak who posted a team-best 8-2 record last year.
Southwestern University comes in at fourth (30 points) with the University of Dallas (18 points) at fifth. The Pirates have been a hassle on the bases for opposing pitchers in previous seasons, consistently leading the league in stolen bags. Last year, Southwestern snagged a league-best 122 bases behind Player-of-the-Year Will Cates who took 31 of his own. The next closest team in the SCAC stole 74. The Crusaders return 12 players including senior Luciano Villanueva who posted a team-best .322 batting average and 39 hits.
Rounding out the rest of the poll is Austin College (13 points) in sixth and Schreiner University (12 points) in seventh. The 'Roos pitching staff posted a combined .349 ERA in 2015, good enough for second in the league. They return junior pitcher Brett Moody who tossed for a NCAA best 0.97 ERA. Schreiner University saw big things out of their freshmen last season as Sam Pistrui and Bret Hill led the team in batting average with .276 and .273 respectively.
For a preview of the 2016 season, click here (coming soon) for the SCAC Baseball Media Guide. This year's preseason guide contains a complete recap of the 2015 season as well as team-by-team previews for the upcoming campaign.
Also, all seven SCAC coaches, along with a respective student-athlete, participated in SCAC Baseball Media Days earlier this week. Click here to watch any of the seven team interviews.
|2016 SCAC Baseball Preseason Poll|
||No. of Votes||2015 SCAC||2015 Overall|
|1. Trinity University
|2. Texas Lutheran University||39 (1)||13-5||25-14|
|3. Centenary College||36||15-3||24-17|
|4. Southwestern University
|5. University of Dallas
|6. Austin College
|7. Schreiner University
Note: First-place votes (in parentheses) are worth seven points, second place worth six points, on down to seventh-place votes being worth one point. Coaches voted for order of finish 1-7.