It was announced earlier today that the University of Redlands baseball team hauled in seven All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) awards, as nominated by and voted upon the head coaches of the member institutions. While more than doubling their number of honorees from a year ago, the Bulldogs also co-lead the selections with the most this season by tying with the conference champions from Cal Lutheran University.
Junior pitcher Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) highlights the decorated group as the 2017 SCIAC Pitcher of the Year, while senior pitcher Michael Collins (Upland, CA), junior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA), and sophomore shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) join him on the First Team. In addition, senior third basemen Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) and senior pitcher John Keane (Clayton, CA) landed on the Second Team. Finally, senior left fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) represents the Maroon and Gray on the SCIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.
After being named the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, Minjarez has returned to dominance just two years later by being named the SCIAC Pitcher of the Year. He currently leads all of NCAA Division III baseball with 12 wins and ranks third with 105 strikeouts on the season. Against SCIAC foes, Minjarez tops the conference in innings pitched (59.0), strikeouts (69), strikeouts per nine innings (10.53), while also recording the lowest ERA of any player to start against all eight opponents with a 1.98. He also allowed fewer hits than innings pitched and surrendered just a single home run over seven quality starts that included three without an earned run against him.
Collins, who was named the SCIAC Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore, receives his second All-Conference honor with this season's First-Team nod. During the current campaign, he served as a reliable second starter for the Maroon and Gray. In conference competition, he earned a 4-2 record while fanning 32 batters. He sits fourth in the conference with 54.2 innings pitched and takes the fifth spot in SCIAC with a low ERA of 2.96 this season.
Aguilar and Singh each haul in their inaugural All-Conference award with this year's spot on the First Team. Aguilar emerged as Redlands' starting catcher and became an offensive spark right when the Bulldogs needed it most en route to snagging Redlands' only SCIAC Baseball Athlete of the Week award this season. He currently sits second in the conference with an impressive .430 batting average and ranks fourth with 24 RBI. Behind the dish, Aguilar holds a perfect fielding percentage as a reliable backstop for the Bulldogs. After establishing himself as the starting shortstop, Singh totaled 60 assists, 25 putouts, and a solid fielding percentage of .955. Offensively, Singh co-leads the squad with seven stolen bases and nine extra-base hits for a conference batting average of .383. He has also swiped six bases on the season.
This year's Second-team nod comes as Scalisi's fourth-consecutive All-Conference award for an extremely successful career as a Bulldog. He started the 2017 campaign at second base but seamlessly made the transition to third when called upon. During SCIAC competition, he led the team with 98 at-bats, 35 hits, and 22 runs scored. In the field, he racked up 47 assists and contributed to eight successful double-plays for a .938 fielding percentage.
With Keane's first-ever award as a member of the Second Team, Redlands arguably boasts the toughest pitching rotation in the conference, as all three starters earned All-SCIAC honors. With a 4-2 record, Keane shares the second spot for conference wins with teammate Collins. Keane has only given up 41 hits in 50.2 innings pitched, which includes two complete games. He registered 30 punch-outs and an ERA of 3.38 as well.
Samson rounds out the lucrative crew of honorees with a spot on the SCIAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Samson saw the field in 37 games as a solid presence in the outfield. He provided great mentorship for the younger players both offensively and defensively while also serving at the lead-off batter.
Head Coach Aaron Holley commented "Mitch has been a team leader all four years that he has been in the program. His work ethic and determination are second to none. Mitch attacked the game with character, integrity, and respect for his opponents while representing the baseball team as a true Bulldog."
Redlands completed the conference campaign in a tie for second place with a 16-8 record to advance to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the third time in a row.
For a complete list of the All-Conference selections, please visit the SCIAC website.