SCAC Announces 2017 All-Conference Baseball Team

SCAC Announces 2017 All-Conference Baseball Team

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- After posting a league-best 15-3 conference mark and earning the program its second regular season championship in the last three years, Centenary College was rewarded with three of the league’s four major awards in exclusive 2017 all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) voting by the league’s head coaches. Complete Release

The Gents’ Chris Zapata was selected as the conference Player-of-the-Year, teammate Matthew Devillier earned Pitcher-of-the-Year honors and Centenary head coach Mike Diaz was named the SCAC Coach-of-the-Year.

In the only major award not going back to Shreveport, Texas Lutheran first baseman Tyler Cauley was named the SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year.

Zapata, a junior catcher from Saratoga, Calif., leads the nation in runs batted in (63) heading into this weekend’s conference tournament and is also tops in the SCAC in hits (58), doubles (14), home runs (10), total bases (108) and slugging percentage (.711). He is also ranked in the top 10 in the conference in triples (3 – 10th), on-base percentage (.444 – ninth) and batting average (.382 – fourth). A three-time SCAC Player-of-the-Week during the regular season, Zapata was also twice selected to the Team-of-the-Week for games played February 27-March 5 and April 10-16 and batted .471 in 18 conference games. Since Centenary joined the SCAC prior to the 2013 season, Zapata is the second baseball student-athlete to earn Player-of-the-Year honors. Craig Littleman was selected the league’s Co-Player of-the-Year in 2013.

Zapata received six votes for SCAC Player-of-the-Year while senior designated hitter Scott Walters of Trinity picked up the remaining first-place vote.

Devillier, a sophomore right-hander from Lake Charles, La., heads into this weekend’s SCAC tournament with a league- and nation-leading 11 wins against no losses in 12 starts. He is also tops in the league in both complete games (three) and shutouts (two) and has worked 79.0 innings (second in the SCAC), struck out 51 (sixth in the SCAC) and allowed an earned run average of 2.39 (fourth in the SCAC). His 11 wins are already the second-most by a SCAC pitcher since 2008 and are tied for the fourth-most in a single-season in league history. Devillier is the second Gent to earn SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year honors, following Taylor Henry who picked up the honor following the 2015 season.

Devillier received four votes in the SCAC Player-of-the-Year balloting, narrowly out-pointing junior right-hander Kevin Flores of Trinity who received the remaining three first-place votes.

Cauley, a first-year first baseman from Baytown, Texas, made the move from catcher to first base about a third of the way through the conference season. He is currently batting .316, including .400 during conference play (sixth best in the league and best among first-year players). His .675 slugging percentage in conference play was second only to Centenary’s Zapata, and he also got on-base at a .528 clip in the 14 conference games in which he participated (third among all players). Since joining the starting lineup on March 24, he has hit safely in 12 of 16 contests. Cauley is the second consecutive Bulldog to win SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year, following his teammate Nathan Malinovsky’s selection a year ago.

Cauley received three votes in a tightly contested SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year vote. First-year outfielder Rafe Chamette of Trinity received two votes in the balloting while first-year designated hitter Cody Crowder of Centenary and first-year third baseman Nathan Patton of Dallas both received one vote each.

Diaz led Centenary to its second SCAC regular season title in the last three years and the top seed in this weekend’s postseason tournament. The Gents are 31-7 heading into this weekend’s play – the first 30+ win season for the program in the Division III era and first overall since 2009. This year’s squad earned the regular season title with a 15-3 conference mark and is currently ranked eighth in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. The Gents are currently ranked in the top 10 in the nation in runs (second), hits (fifth), doubles (fourth), triples (first), batting average (sixth), runs per game (fourth), on-base percentage (fifth), slugging percentage (fourth) and fielding percentage (eighth). In his seven years at the helm of the Gents program and heading into this weekend’s conference tournament, Diaz has amassed a 162-120 overall record, a 66-26 (.717) conference mark and SCAC regular season titles in 2013, 2015 and this season. This is the third SCAC Coach-of-the-Year honor for Diaz.

Diaz garnered five votes from his peers for SCAC Coach-of-the-Year, while Tim Scannell of Trinity and R.J. Thomas of Southwestern received one vote each. 

2017 SCAC Player-of-the-Year
Chris Zapata, Centenary College, Junior, Catcher, Saratoga, Calif.

2017 SCAC Pitcher-of-the-Year
Matthew Devillier, Centenary College, Sophomore, Pitcher, Lake Charles, La.

2017 SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year
Tyler Cauley, Texas Lutheran University, Freshman, First Baseman, Baytown, Texas

2017 SCAC Coach-of-the-Year
Mike Diaz, Centenary College, 31-7 Overall Record (15-3 SCAC) / Top Seed for SCAC Tournament

For the complete 2017 SCAC All-Conference baseball team, click here.

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