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Jimenez, Burnett receive major SCAC Baseball honors

Jimenez, Burnett receive major SCAC Baseball honors

CLEBURNE, Texas -- Texas Lutheran Head Coach Greg Burnett and freshman shortstop Joe Jimenez (San Antonio/Johnson) each picked up major Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball honors with the announcement of the 2019 All-SCAC Baseball Team.

Burnett was named the SCAC Coach of the Year, and Jimenez picked up the SCAC Freshman of the Year award.

The Bulldogs also had two All-SCAC First Team picks (second baseman Austin Colon and right-fielder Tyler Cauley) and four All-SCAC Second Team choices (catcher Spencer Brandt, shortstop Jimenez, center-fielder Cullen Motsinger, and starting pitcher Nathan Malinovsky).

The Bulldogs put seven players on the SCAC Honorable Mention squad. Honorable Mention selections included: designated hitter Nick Gardoni (Salinas, Calif./Palma), relief pitcher Matthew Hickey (Houston/Klein Collins), first baseman Cole Irby (Buda/Hays), starting pitcher Dylan Murrell (Tomball/Memorial), outfielder Blade Strzelczyk (San Antonio/East Central), third baseman Thomas Varner (Austin/Bowie), and relief pitcher Drew Waller (Bellville/Bellville).

Jimenez provided a huge boost for the Bulldogs after entering the starting lineup at the beginning of league play. In conference-only action, Jimenez led all first-year players and was third overall in both batting average (.429) and hits (30) and was fifth in on-base percentage (.506).

In the regular season, Jimenez hit .388 in 28 games with five doubles, two triples and a home run among his 38 hits with 27 runs scored and 22 RBI.

Jimenez is the third Texas Lutheran player in the last four years to receive Freshman of the Year honors, joining current teammates Nathan Malinovsky (2016) and Tyler Cauley (2017) as honorees.

Jimenez was the coaches' clear favorite in the Freshman-of-the-Year balloting, receiving five first-place votes. First-year second baseman Chance Goins of Schreiner University and first-year outfielder Michael Jaquez of the University of Dallas received one vote each.

Burnett led the Bulldogs to a share of the SCAC regular season title – the program's second in the last four years – and the top seed in this weekend's postseason tournament.

After defeating Trinity on Saturday to advance to their second consecutive SCAC Championship final round, the Bulldogs are 31-10 and ranked ninth in the nation.

Burnett and the Bulldogs are the defending SCAC tournament champions and defending West Region champions. TLU's 2018 post-season run produced a national runner-up finish at the NCAA Division III College Baseball World Series in Appleton, Wis.

In his 12th year at the helm of the TLU program, Burnett is 337-182 overall. He is third all-time in TLU career baseball wins and second all-time in TLU career baseball win percentage of .649. His 77-31 (.713) record in SCAC play is the fifth-highest all-time among those who have coached five or more years in the league.

Burnett is the SCAC Coach of the Year for a second time. The award is Burnett's third coaching honor since taking over as head coach in 2008. Burnett was honored in 2009 with his coaching staff as the American Southwest Conference West Division Coaching Staff of the Year. In 2016, Burnett was named the SCAC Coach of the Year.

Cauley (Mont Belvieu/Barbers Hill) was named to the All-SCAC First Team for a third consecutive year. Cauley, TLU's starting right-fielder, received one vote for Player of the Year. Cauley leads TLU in RBI (45), total bases (85), slugging percentage (.590), walks (39), runs (44), on-base percentage (.487), and home runs (7).

Colon (La Grange/La Grange), in his first year as the TLU starter at second base, is hitting .318 with 32 runs scored, four doubles, 10 sacrifice bunts, and seven stolen bases. Since starting the year with three fielding errors in his first three games as the starter, Colon has made just five the rest of the year and just one in his last 19 games.

Brandt, a year removed from his Gold Glove catching award of 2018, was named the All-SCAC Second Team. Brandt is hitting .272 with four doubles and 18 runs scored. He lead the team in hit-by-pitch (11), and he has yet to make an error in 2019. He did not make an error in all of 2018.

Motsinger (Houston/Cypress Ranch) is third on the team in batting average (.333) in his first year as the starter in center field. Motsinger has started and played in 40 games, and he has scored 36 runs. He has walked 34 times, doubled eight time, and he has four triples and a home run.

(Complete SCAC Baseball All-Conference List)