Minor Leads Five Islanders with All-Southland Honors

FRISCO, Texas – Texas A&M – Corpus Christi pitcher Daniel Minor was named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year for baseball and also earned first team recognition on the All-Southland teams. Another newcomer, Jonathan Gonzales, earned third team honors, while Drew Vest, Jordan Lee and Phillip Garcia each collected an honorable mention, as voted on by the leagues sports information directors and coaches.

The junior pitcher from Dripping Springs, Texas, is in his first year as a member of the Islanders, and he helped the team into the Southland Conference Tournament for the second straight year. After transferring from McLennan Junior College, Minor was dominant in the conference, winning seven games in 11 starts and having the second-best totals in the conference for strikeouts (107), ERA (2.29), complete games (four) and innings pitched (102.1).

"What Daniel did for our team and our program this year is huge, I don't know if you can really put a title on it," said head coach Scott Malone. "Newcomer of the Year in the league says a lot about how hard he works, how hard he prepares, and lastly how he goes out on the field and executes.

"He was a stopper for us all year. If we ever had a weekend get away from us with a loss on Friday and Saturday, we knew he was going to be there on Sunday to pick us up and keep us in the hunt."

In addition to the season totals, Minor earned Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week four times this season, with no other pitcher earning more than one, and set a conference-high for 2012 with 14 strikeouts against UTSA in the opening weekend of league play.

"Obviously, down the stretch we needed him, and I thought he led a really talented pitching staff to be the force for this team," said Malone. "When we play well and get on a hot streak a little bit, it is always because we are pitching well."

He becomes the second Texas A&M – Corpus Christi player named Newcomer of the Year, with Stephen Flora earning the honor following the 2008 season.

Gonzales earned third team honors after hitting eight home runs, the fourth-highest total in the Southland, during his first season with the Islanders. He drove in a team-high 30 runs this year, was second on the team with a .292 batting average, and had a team-high .472 slugging percentage.

"Jonathan Gonzales had a great season," said Malone "He really got hot about a month in, and was a mainstay in the lineup. Being a junior, we are looking forward not only to what he can do in the Tournament, but having him as a rock in the middle of the order next year."

For Vest, Lee and Garcia, they earned honorable mention for their efforts during the season.

Vest was the everyday shortstop for the Islanders, starting 44 games and playing in a total of 50 during the year. He was fourth on the team with a .286 batting average, and was second with 12 stolen bases, while getting caught stealing just once during the year.

Garcia extended his Islanders all-time record for saves, and also set a new single season mark with eight during the year. In all, he has 16 career saves as an Islanders pitcher. The senior gave up just six earned runs all season in 25 appearances, including a start in the final game of the regular season.

"Drew Vest and Philly Garcia are two of the hardest working kids we have had in this program," said Malone. "I say this with the most respect, but I don't know if they are two of the most talented kids that we've had, but they are hard working and they get every bit out of their abilities every day they go out there and compete.

"Drew Vest was voted a team captain by his teammates, which I think says a lot about his makeup and the type of kid he is."

Lee came in as a freshman, earning a starting role after going 2-for-3 against nationally ranked Rice in the first start of his collegiate career and leading the team with a.328 batting average this season. Since his first start, Lee has hit .352 over the last 37 games and has become the most dependable hitter in the lineup. His on-base percentage was a team-high .411 on the year, drawing 13 walks and getting hit by a pitch on six occasions.

"Anytime you get a freshman that comes in, wins a job and plays everyday you're excited, but for him to play at the level that he played at, he is one of the seven or eight best outfielders in the Southland Conference," said Malone. "Jordan had a great season for us, and we are looking forward to bigger things in the future from him as well.

"Hopefully he will get hot and carry us through this weekend and help us win some games."

Minor, Gonzales, Vest, Garcia, Lee and the rest of the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi team will begin play in the Southland Conference Tournament on Wednesday, facing off against No. 1 seed Sam Houston State in the 12 p.m. game at Bobcat Ballpark on the campus of Texas State.

Live stats and video will be available through www.Southland.org, while live audio will be available on www.GoIslanders.com.

For all the latest on Islanders Baseball, like the team on Facebook (Islanders Baseball) and follow them on Twitter (@CorpusBaseball). 

 

 

2012 All-Southland Conference Baseball Teams

First Team

 

 

 

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Jonathan Pace

Southeastern La.

Sr.

Terry, Miss.

2B

Brock Hebert2

Southeastern La.

Jr.

Bourg, La.

3B

Kevin Miller

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Pearland, Texas

SS

Hunter Dozier

Stephen F. Austin

So.

Denton, Texas

C

Travis Snider

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Alvin, Texas

OF

Preston Beck

UT Arlington

Jr.

Dallas, Texas

OF

Jeff McVaney3

Texas State

Sr.

Houston, Texas

OF

Seth Granger2

McNeese State

Sr.

Iowa, La.

DH

Anthony Azar

Sam Houston State

So.

The Woodlands, Texas

P

Daniel Minor

A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Dripping Springs, Texas

P

Travis Ballew

Texas State

Jr.

Rockwall, Texas

P

Stefan Lopez

Southeastern La.

Jr.

New Iberia, La.

 
 
 
 
 

Second Team

 

 

 

1B

Bryan Willson

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Camarillo, Calif.

2B

Philip Lyons

Nicholls State

So.

Thibodaux, La.

3B

Ryan Dalton2

UTSA

Jr.

Sugar Land, Texas

SS

Ryan Walker

UT Arlington

So.

Arlington, Texas

C

Andrew Stumph2

Texas State

Jr.

Katy, Texas

OF

Forrestt Allday

Central Arkansas

Jr.

Friendswood, Texas

OF

Jonathan Davis2

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Camden, Ark.

OF

Will Watson

Northwestern State

Jr.

Dallas, Texas

DH

Jeremy Hill2

Nicholls State

Sr.

Long Beach, Miss.

P

Caleb Smith

Sam Houston State

So.

Huntsville, Texas

P

Lance Day

UT Arlington

Sr.

Snyder, Texas

P

Colton Turner

Texas State

Jr.

Joshua, Texas

 
 
 
 
 

Third Team

 

 

 

1B

Casey Kalenkosky2

Texas State

Sr.

San Antonio, Texas

2B

Freddy Villalobos

Stephen F. Austin

Jr.

Houston, Texas

3B

Darian Johnson

Lamar

Jr.

Chandler, Ariz.

SS

R.J. Perucki

UTSA

So.

Tomball, Texas

C

Jarid Scarafiotti2

Stephen F. Austin

Sr.

Shreveport, La.

OF

Jake Arrington

Sam Houston State

Sr.

Gunter, Texas

OF

Cody Gougler

Southeastern La.

Sr.

Huntsville, Texas

OF

Drew Helenihi

Northwestern State

Sr.

Livermore, Calif.

DH

Jonathan Gonzales

A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Buda, Texas

P

Alex Moshier

Stephen F. Austin

Sr.

Beaumont, Texas

P

Joe Scanio

Northwestern State

Sr.

St. Louis, Mo.

P

Michael Oros

Sam Houston State

Sr.

Kingwood, Texas

 

2 indicates two-time all-conference selection;

3 indicates three-time all-conference selection.

 

Honorable Mention – First Base: Casey Selsor, UTSA; Brad Picha, Lamar. Second Base: Michael Guerra, UT Arlington. Third Base: Nick Hinojos, Northwestern State. Shortstop: Drew Vest, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Outfield: Preston Morrow, UT Arlington; Colt Atwood, Sam Houston State; Jordan Lee, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Harry Slade, Southeastern Louisiana; Ethan Harris, Central Arkansas; Luke Plucheck, Sam Houston State; Daniel Rockett, UTSA. Designated Hitter: Seth Dornak, Lamar. Pitchers: Mason Melotakis, Northwestern State; Andro Cutura, Southeastern Louisiana; Dylan Hills, Southeastern Louisiana; Blake Ware, McNeese State; Justin Jackson, Sam Houston State; Phillip Garcia, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

 

Individual Superlative Award Winners

Player of the Year:

Brock Hebert, Southeastern Louisiana 

Hitter of the Year:

Brock Hebert, Southeastern Louisiana 

Pitcher of the Year:

Travis Ballew, Texas State 

Relief Pitcher of the Year:

Stefan Lopez, Southeastern Louisiana

Freshman of the Year:

Andro Cutura, Southeastern Louisiana

Newcomer of the Year:

Daniel Minor, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Coach of the Year:

David Pierce, Sam Houston State