ORANGE, Calif. – Five selections and the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year highlighted the release of the All-SCIAC teams for the Chapman University baseball team. Head coach Scott Laverty earned his first career coaching honor with the headline award.
Senior pitcher Tyler Peck and sophomore reliever Nick Garcia led the player selections with First Team honors for SCIAC regular season champions. Senior pitcher Jonathan Hernandez, sophomore infielder/designated hitter Mack Cheli and freshman third baseman Drew Littwin each earned Second Team recognition.
Laverty's first career coaching honor came after leading the Panthers to their best SCIAC season in their short history in the conference. Chapman's 19-5 record equates to the best winning percentage for the Panthers since joining the SCIAC in 2013 and the first regular season title. Chapman won seven of eight series and swept four series on its way to the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament.
Peck and Garcia had dominant seasons on the mound. Peck led the SCIAC with 79 strikeouts in his eight SCIAC starts while walking just 15 for his second All-SCIAC award. His 1.99 ERA ranked second in the conference while he put together a 5-2 record in conference play. The senior from Corte Madera, Calif., amassed double digit strikeout totals in five of his eight starts, including his last four SCIAC starts in a row. His 125 strikeouts overall this season are just eight shy of the school record.
While Peck strung together dominant starts, Garcia was dominant in relief to earn his first career All-SCIAC nod. He allowed just two runs in 19 and a third innings of relief for a 0.94 ERA and led the league with six saves. He struck out 31 batters in conference games, which ranks 10th in the SCIAC despite being the only pitcher with less than 30 innings pitched in the top-17. Opponents hit just .197 against the righty from San Carlos, Calif.
Hernandez thrived in his first season as a weekend starter and was rewarded with his first All-SCIAC selection. In eight SCIAC starts, he went 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA. The right-hander from San Mateo, Calif., also ranked in the top-10 with 45 strikeouts in conference game, highlighted by a 10-strikeout complete game win against Cal Lutheran in early March.
Cheli and Littwin represented the Chapman lineup on the All-SCIAC with both of their first career All-SCIAC selections. Cheli hit .359 in SCIAC games while playing a combination of first base and DH. The Los Altos, Calif., native hit in the middle of the order and ranked third in the SCIAC with nine doubles in conference games. He also smashed one homer and drove in 13 RBIs.
Littwin occupied third base all year for the Panthers, hitting .326 in conference games with six doubles and 16 RBIs. The freshman from Woodland Hills, Calif. ranked in the top-10 with six stolen bases in SCIAC games as well as 17 runs scored. He posted a .954 fielding percentage in his first SCIAC season at the hot corner.
The Panthers will host the SCIAC Postseason Tournament this weekend, beginning with a 3 p.m. contest against fourth-seeded Cal Lutheran on Friday.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director