Setzer and Shepherd Lead Nine Honored With SAC Baseball Awards


ROCK HILL, S.C. ( -- Catawba claimed three of the four top post season baseball awards from the South Atlantic Conference as outfielder Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan) was voted the 2017 SAC Baseball Player of the Year, Hunter Shepherd (Salisbury, N.C./Homeschool) was picked as the league’s Freshman of the Year and Jim Gantt was tabbed as a Co-Coach of the Year.  Lenoir-Rhyne’s Thomas St. Clair was named the Pitcher of the Year and Lincoln Memorial head coach Jeff Sziksai joined Gantt as a Co-Coach of the Year.

Setzer, a junior, ranks tops in the nation with 88 hits and 152 total bases.  He has scored 59 runs for the Catawba Indians to rank No. 7 in Division II, while his 15 home runs and 17 doubles were good for No. 15.  Setzer has a slugging percentage of .741 to pace at No. 24 in D-II.  He is batting .429 during the 2017 campaign and stands No. 18 in the country in the category.  Setzer twice earned National Baseball Coaches Association Regional Hitter of the Week (NCBWA) honors to go along with 30 multiple hit games on the year.
Shepherd, a pitcher, ranks third in the SAC with seven wins this season.  He has posted a 3.81 ERA in 15 appearances to go along with 43 strikeouts.  At the plate, Shepherd has hit .355 with 11 hits, two doubles and one home run.
Gantt earns his ninth Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Catawba Indians to their 12th SAC Regular Season Championship, including their fifth straight title.  His Catawba Indians have cranked out 80 home runs to rank tops in the country and have amassed 115 doubles to rank No. 2 nationally.  The Catawba Indians slug at .572 to lead the nation, pounding out 567 hits on the year to set the national standard.  Catawba’s 414 runs scored this season ranks No. 2 in the nation.  Gantt’s pitching staff averages 9.0 strikeouts per nine to rank No. 18 in D-II.

St. Clair, a senior from Winston-Salem, N.C., closed out the 2017 regular season ranked No. 3 in NCAA II with 111 strikeouts.  He struck out 12.28 batters per nine innings and won nine games.  Sziksai picks up his first career Coach of the Year nod as his Railsplitters posted their best regular season SAC finish in school history as LMU came in as the regular season runner-up. 

The Indians placed nine players on the All-SAC teams and had a pair of Gold Glove winners.  Joining Setzer on the first team was senior catcher Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly/UNCG) and junior closer Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle). 

Almond sports a .390 average with a team-best 17 home runs, ranking ninth in NCAA II.  He ranks seventh in total RBI (59) and 13th in RBI per game (1.34).  He also stands seventh with a .791 slugging percentage.  Blanton is tied for the national lead with a dozen saves.  In 23 appearances, he has a 1-0 mark and a 1.78 ERA.  He has fanned 41 over 25 and a third innings.  

Shepherd was named the All-SAC second team along with junior second baseman Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), sophomore shortstop Jeremy Simpson (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan) and junior designated hitter Nick Coble (Concord, N.C./Mt. Pleasant/Florence-Darlington).

Smith is hitting .337 on the season with 14 doubles, a triple and eight homers.  He has 32 RBI and has scored 51 runs with eight stolen bases.  Simpson is a .328 hitter with seven doubles and four triples.  He has driven in 27 runs and scored 37 with six steals.  Coble has connected on 10 home runs with 41 RBI on the year.  He has hit .275 with 32 runs scored.

Honorable mention honors went to senior outfielder Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) and junior first baseman Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury).  Hanes is hitting .310 with 11 homers and 39 RBI.  Bowden has posted a .352 average with 43 RBI, 17 doubles and nine home runs.

Bowden and Simpson were honored with a Gold Glove at their respective positions.  Simpson fielded at a .944 clip and started all 47 games at shortstop.  He has been part of 21 double plays.  Bowden has made just one error on the season and has a .997 fielding percentage at first base.

 2017 SAC Baseball All-Conference All-SAC Teams and Award Winners
All-SAC First Team
OF – Luke Setzer, Catawba
OF – Logan Augustine, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Daymon Totherow, Newberry
1B – Timmy Wages, Lincoln Memorial
2B – Hunter Merrill, Mars Hill
SS – Tyler Adams, Lincoln Memorial
3B – John Topoleski, Tusculum
C – Zach Almond, Catawba
DH – Ben Herring, Newberry
SP – Thomas St. Clair, Lenoir-Rhyne
SP – Zack Kelly, Newberry
SP – Ethan Carpenter, Tusculum
RP – Bryan Blanton, Catawba
All-SAC Second Team
OF – Ryan Addington, Carson-Newman
OF – Brett Brubaker, Mars Hill
OF – William Thomas, Anderson
1B – Nick Lacina, Tusculum
2B – Kyle Smith, Catawba
SS – Jeremy Simpson, Catawba
3B – Eric Kalman, Lincoln Memorial
C – Greg Jones, Carson-Newman
DH – Nick Coble, Catawba
SP – Hunter Shepherd, Catawba
SP –Tim Hardy, Tusculum
SP – Brandon Jean, Lincoln Memorial
RP – Griffin Hollifield, Coker
Honorable Mentions
OF – Mason Ewers, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Malachi Hanes, Catawba
OF – Jeremy Glore, Tusculum
1B – Chance Bowden, Catawba
2B – Daulton Martin, Tusculum
SS – Tyler Miller, Anderson
3B – Brett Langhorne, Carson-Newman
C – Russell Clark, Lincoln Memorial
DH – Bradley Brown, Wingate
SP – Forrest Arnold, Coker
SP – Zac Brown, Mars Hill
SP – Evan Estridge, Newberry
RP – Dominic Morabito, Lincoln Memorial
Gold Glove
RF – Daymon Totherow, Newberry
CF – Danton Hyman, Newberry
LF – Marcus Shoemaker, Lenoir-Rhyne
1B – Chance Bowden, Catawba
2B – Cody Ezzell, Newberry
SS – Jeremy Simpson, Catawba
3B – John Topoleski, Tusculum
C – Jeff Sneed, Newberry
P – Zac Brown, Mars Hill
Player of the Year: Luke Setzer, Catawba
Pitcher of the Year: Thomas St. Clair, Lenoir-Rhyne
Freshman of the Year: Hunter Shepherd, Catawba
Co-Coach of the Year: Jim Gantt, Catawba & Jeff Sziksai, Lincoln Memorial

Today's Events

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG, noonVideoStats
Softball vs BARTON, noonStats
Lacrosse (W) @ UVA-Wise, 2:00Video
Softball vs BARTON, 2:00Stats
Tennis (W) @ Elon, 3:00Stats


«February 2018»
February 1

Baseball @ Nova Southeastern 5-8

February 2

Baseball @ Palm Beach Atlantic 0-11

February 3

Golf (W) @ Barton Invite at Kiawah - Day 1 (Cougar Point GC)

Track/Field @ Maillet UNC Open

Softball vs. AUGUSTA 0-6

Baseball @ Lynn 11-12

Basketball (W) @ Anderson 69-75

Softball vs. AUGUSTA 4-3

Basketball (M) @ Anderson 77-65

February 4

Golf (W) @ Barton Invite at Kiawah - Day 2 (Cougar Point GC) 12th of 16

Baseball @ Nova Southeastern 6-25

Softball @ Mount Olive, ppd.  1 p.m.

Softball @ Mount Olive, ppd.  3 p.m.

February 6

Baseball @ Belmont Abbey 5-6

February 7

Basketball (W) vs. LENOIR-RHYNE 56-61

Basketball (M) vs.LENOIR-RHYNE 84-77

February 9

Softball @ UNC Pembroke 6-4

Softball @ UNC Pembroke 0-8

Baseball vs,. PALM BEACH ATLANTIC 7-9

Lacrosse (M) @ Belmont Abbey 10-18

Baseball vs. PALM BEACH ATLANTIC 3-12

February 10

Baseball vs. PALM BEACH ATLANTIC 6-5

Lacrosse (W) vs. FLORIDA SOUTHERN 6-24

Basketball (M) @ Bluefield St. 76-55

February 12

Golf (M) @ Spring Invite Intercollegiate - Day 1 (Fleming Isl. GC)

February 13

Golf (M) @ Spring Invite Intercollegiate - Day 2 (Fleming Isl. GC) 14th of 17

February 14

Swimming @ Bluegrass Mountain Championships (Day 1)

Baseball vs. BELMONT ABBEY 5-7

Basketball (W) @ Coker 63-60

Basketball (M) @ Coker 79-77

February 15

Swimming @ Bluegrass Mountain Championships (Day 2)

Softball @ Belmont Abbey 3-4

Softball @ Belmont Abbey 3-2

Lacrosse (W) vs. CONVERSE 16-6

February 16

Swimming @ Bluegrass Mountain Championships (Day 3)

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 11-2

February 17

Swimming @ Bluegrass Mountain Championships (Day 4) W-5th;M-7th

Softball vs SHIPPENSBURG 3-4

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 11-3

Softball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 8-4

Lacrosse (M) @ Mount Olive 3-15

Basketball (W) vs. CARSON-NEWMAN 49-80

Basketball (M) vs. CARSON-NEWMAN 89-104

February 18

Softball vs BARTON noon

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG noon

Lacrosse (W) @ UVA-Wise 2 p.m.

Softball vs BARTON 2 p.m.

Tennis (W) @ Elon 3 p.m.

February 19

Track/Field @ SAC Indoor Championships

Golf (W) @ Converse Invite - Day 1 (Carolina CC)

February 20

Golf (W) @ Converse Invite - Day 2 (Carolina CC)

Baseball @ Mount Olive 3 p.m.

Lacrosse (W) vs. MOUNT OLIVE 4 p.m.

February 21

Tennis (M) vs. BELMONT ABBEY 2 p.m.

Basketball (W) @ Newberry 6 p.m.

Basketball (M) @ Newberry 8 p.m.

February 22

Swimming @ Royal Open (Day 1)

February 23

Swimming @ Royal Open (Day 2)

Tennis (W) @ Mount Olive 2 p.m.

Tennis (M) @ Mount Olive 2 p.m.

Lacrosse (M) vs. CHOWAN 3 p.m.

Baseball vs. COKER 6 p.m.

Lacrosse (W) vs. ROLLINS 7 p.m.

February 24

Baseball vs. COKER 1 p.m.

Softball vs USC AIKEN 1 p.m.

Basketball (W) @ Mars Hill 2 p.m.

Softball vs USC AIKEN 3 p.m.

Baseball vs. COKER 4 p.m.

Basketball (M) @ Mars Hill 4 p.m.

February 25

Softball vs YOUNG HARRIS 1 p.m.

Lacrosse (M) vs. FLORIDA SOUTHERN 1 p.m.

Softball vs. YOUNG HARRIS 3 p.m.

February 28

Basketball (M) in SAC Tournament (1st Round)

Basketball (W) in SAC Tournament (1st Round)

Lacrosse (W) @ Belmont Abbey 3 p.m.

Baseball @ UNC Pembroke 3 p.m.

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Baseball Team Photo