(Seguin) – The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs are the third pick in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Baseball Coaches' Poll for 2018.
The Bulldogs, set for their fifth season in the SCAC, received 37 points in the coaches' poll, released Wednesday by the SCAC.
TLU opens its 2018 season this Sunday with a home doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran (Wash.). First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m. at TLU's Katt-Isbel Field. Live webcasts and live stats for both ends of the doubleheader can be found on tlubulldogs.com.
In the preseason poll, first-place votes were worth seven points, and second-place votes were worth six points, on down to seventh-place votes being worth one point. Coaches voted for order of finish 1-7.
Defending conference tournament and regular-season champion Centenary College (La.) was picked to repeat. The Gents earned 47 total points and five first-place nods.
Trinity, the 2016 NCAA Division III national champion, claimed the remaining two first-place votes, coming in six points behind Centenary in the poll.
TLU Head Coach Greg Burnett, in his 11th year as head coach and in his 20th year with the program, will lead the Bulldogs after last year's 21-19 overall record that included a 12-6 record in conference. TLU finished 2017 with a second-place regular-season finish in the SCAC. The Bulldogs were the 2016 regular-season champions of the SCAC.
TLU will have eight of the team's top 10 hitters returning this season. Three of those positions players - senior center fielder Riley Schaefer (Thorndale/Thorndale), senior left fielder Matthew Lemon (Caldwell/Caldwell) and sophomore first baseman/designated hitter Tyler Cauley (Baytown/Barbers Hill) - were named to the All-SCAC First Team in 2017. Cauley was named the SCAC Freshman of the Year.
Returning players on the 2017 All-SCAC Second Team included: second baseman Ben Marvin (Kingwood/Kingwood), shortstop Eric Rabinowitz (Schertz/Clemens), third baseman Thomas Varner (Austin/Bowie), pitcher Nathan Malinovsky (New Braunfels/New Braunfels) and pitcher Dylan Drgac (Caldwell/Caldwell). Cade Killingsworth (Missouri City/Ridge Point), also a pitcher, was named to All-SCAC Honorable Mention.
Drgac, Malinovsky, and Killingsworth were the weekend pitching starters for TLU in 2017. Drgac was an Academic All-America candidate after earning Academic All-District honors in 2017.
After Centenary, Trinity and TLU in the SCAC pre-season poll, Southwestern tallied 24 points to edge University of Dallas (garnering 20 points) for fourth.
Schreiner is predicted to finish sixth in the SCAC, followed by Austin College in seventh.