Last updated: April 24. 2014 1:45AM - 286 Views

Jay Compton|Daily NewsLincoln Memorial University senior outfielder Josh Coker has been named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year. Coker slashed .373/.754/.452 with 13 homer runs and 44 RBIs.
Jay Compton|Daily NewsLincoln Memorial University senior outfielder Josh Coker has been named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year. Coker slashed .373/.754/.452 with 13 homer runs and 44 RBIs.
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ROCK HILL, S.C. — Lincoln Memorial University senior outfielder Josh Coker was christened as the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, headlining a list of four Railsplitters arrayed with postseason accolades. Along with Coker, who also earned All-SAC second team as a reliever, Kelvin Brito and Jean Rodriguez were named to the All-SAC second team while Kyle Floyd was an honorable mention selection.


Coker joins men’s golf’s Rand Wasson and men’s basketball’s Vincent Bailey in collecting conference Player of the Year laurels. The Murphy, N.C., native fronted a lethal offensive attack for the Railsplitters (26-15-1, 16-8 SAC), which led the SAC in runs scored, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, by posting one of the most prolific individual seasons in program history.


Coker compiled a slash line of .373/.754/.452, ranking sixth, first and fourth in the conference, respectively, in those categories. Additionally, he finished the regular season ranked second in the SAC in home runs with 13, fourth in RBI with 44, fifth in total bases with 107 and fifth in doubles with 15 two-baggers. Coker has placed himself in elite company nationally in several of those categories as he ranks third in the NCAA Division II in homers, sixth in slugging and 21st in total bases.


Coker hit safely in 35 of his 41 games played this season, racking up 14 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games. From March 3 until March 8, the Walters State Community College transfer went on an absolute tear, going 7-for-15 with 12 RBI and four home runs during a five-game stretch. He became the first NCBWA National Hitter of the Week in program history. Coker’s .754 slugging percentage currently ranks second in Lincoln Memorial’s single-season history, while his 13 dingers are tied for the sixth-most in the school record book.


Coker’s bat sizzled in nearly every situation, but it truly came alive when it mattered the most. He finished the regular season batting .382 with runners on base, .667 with the bases loaded, .434 with runners in scoring position and .750 with a runner on third and less than two outs.


Along with capturingPlayer of the Year and All-SAC first team distinctions, Coker was voted by the league’s coaches to the All-SAC second team as a relief pitcher. Coker posted a stingy 2.70 ERA with a 1-1 record, 20.0 innings pitched and 14 total appearances. Over that stretch, Coker finished first in the South Atlantic Conference with eight saves, which sets a new school single-season record. He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning with 19, while holding opponents to a .263 batting average against.


After partnering with Coker to wreak havoc in the middle of the Railsplitters’ batting order all season, junior Kelvin Brito was named the All-SAC second team first baseman. Brito’s slash line is nearly identical to Coker as the Yabucoa, Puerto Rico product finished the regular season batting .378, slugging .622 and reaching base at a .429 clip, ranking third in the SAC in batting average and sixth in slugging. The Indian Hills Community College transfer finished third in the league in home runs with 11, third in RBI with 46 and ninth in hits with a team-leading 59. Brito currently resides in 13th in the D-II national ranks in home runs and 26th in RBI.


Sophomore second baseman Jean Rodriguez was also named to the All-SAC second team. After redshirting the 2013 campaign, Rodriguez made an immediate impact in his first season of competition with the Railsplitters, batting .301 with 40 hits, seven doubles, a team-high three triples and 19 RBI. Rodriguez was the Railsplitters’ leading base stealer, as the Caguas, Puerto Rico native finished seventh in the conference with 14 stolen bases on only 16 attempts. Rodriguez added a team-high 94 infield assists.


Junior catcher Kyle Floydwas named All-SAC honorable mention, and he earned the nod for that award after compiling a .317 batting average with 33 hits, eight doubles, one homer and 24 RBI. Floyd also drew 14 walks and was hit by a pitch five times to account for a .423 on-base percentage. In addition to his work in the batter’s box, Floyd was a rock behind the dish, compiling a .989 fielding percentage with 150 putouts and 25 assists. Floyd gunned down 11 runners attempting to steal this season.


The Railsplitters matched the program record for SAC wins with 16, earning the No.3 seed for the 2014 Food Lion SAC Championship. Lincoln Memorial drew fourth-seeded Newberry for the opening-round match-up, which is set to be played at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at McNair Field in Forest City, North Carolina.


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2014 South Atlantic Conference Baseball Awards


SAC Player of the Year: Josh Coker, Lincoln Memorial*


SAC Pitcher of the Year: Craig Brooks, Catawba


SAC Freshman of the Year: Shaefer Shepard, Catawba


SAC Co-Coaches of the Year: Jim Gantt, Catawba/Jeff Gregory, Wingate


All-SAC First Team


C - Jonathan Zalud, Anderson


1B - Steven Cooper, Anderson


2B - Brantley Rumford, Lenoir-Rhyne


SS - Craig Brooks, Catawba


3B - Ryan Cranmer, Newberry


OF - Ivan Vieitez, Lenoir-Rhyne


OF - Josh Coker, Lincoln Memorial*


OF - Nate Galliford, Anderson


DH - T.J. Wharton, Catawba


SP - Craig Brooks, Tusculum


SP - Olen Little, Wingate


SP - Shaefer Shepard, Catawba


RP - Ryan McClintock, Catawba


All-SAC Second Team


C - Josh Clark, Wingate


1B - Kelvin Brito, Lincoln Memorial*


2B - Vinny Ferrara, Tusculum


2B - Jean Rodriguez, Lincoln Memorial*


SS - Evan Rogers, Mars Hill


3B - T.J. Giczkowski, Coker


OF - Bo Ausmus, Carson-Newman


OF - Eric Serra, Wingate


OF - Keaton Hawks, Catawba


DH - Taylor Foster, Tusculum


SP - Ben Currie, Wingate


SP - Wesley Camp, Newberry


SP - Jake Nidiffer, Newberry


RP - Josh Coker, Lincoln Memorial*


All-SAC Honorable Mention


C - Kyle Floyd, Lincoln Memorial*


1B - Paul Kronenfeld, Catawba


SS - Michael Godinez, Wingate


3B - John Topoleski, Tusculum


OF - Blake Houston, Catawba


OF - Ernie Kirkwood, Coker


OF - Alex Kirby, Newberry


DH - Eric Barbieri, Newberry


SP - Cole Cromer, Newberry


SP - Landon Beck, Anderson


SP - Caleb Edwards, Mars Hill


RP - Daniel Nations, Newberry


SAC Gold Glove Team


C - Jonathan Zalud, Anderson


1B - Dalton Eisenbath, Mars Hill


2B - Julio Zubillaga, Catawba


SS - Brett Cash, Anderson


3B - John Topoleski, Tusculum


OF - Tommy Scala, Mars Hill


OF - Alex Kirby, Newberry


OF - Bo Ausmus, Carson-Newman


P - Wesley Camp, Newberry

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