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Gaconi named Southland Student-Athlete of Year

Gaconi named Southland Student-Athlete of Year
Posted: Jun 12, 2019
Categories: Front Page, Good News
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Gaconi Named Southland Student-Athlete of the Year; League-High Five Lions Earn All-Academic Honors

HAMMOND, La. – Led by Student-Athlete of the Year Corey Gaconi, Southeastern Louisiana placed a league-high five student-athletes on the Southland Conference All-Academic Baseball Teams, which the league office released on Tuesday.

Gaconi, a Metairie, Louisiana native and senior pitcher for the Lions, was joined on the first team by senior infielder Kyle Schimpf. Senior pitchers Jared Biddy and Mason Knopp, as well as junior pitcher Bryce Tassin all represented SLU on the second team.

SLU and UIW shared the conference lead with five honorees apiece. The five honorees match the 2016 and 2017 Lions for most Southland Conference All-Academic selections in program history.

Gaconi, who graduated with a 3.92 cumulative grade point average as a marketing major, is the first Lion since former teammate Jameson Fisher in 2016 to be named Southland Student-Athlete of the Year. Gaconi and Fisher are also the program’s last two Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, as Gaconi received that honor earlier this month.

The 2019 Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year finished the year with a 7-3 record and a 2.57 earned run average, holding opponents to a .244 batting average and striking out 95 in 108.2 innings of work. Gaconi’s control was his greatest asset, as he only walked 11 batters on the season, ranking among the Division I national leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.64, 4th) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.91, 5th).

The Brother Martin High School alum was just as impressive off the field. At the inaugural Lion Choice Awards in April, Gaconi was honored as the graduating SLU male student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average. His recognition on Tuesday marked the third straight season he was named to the Southland All-Academic team.

Joining Gaconi on the first team was Schimpf, a third team All-Southland and first team Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. The Covington, Louisiana native led SLU with a .299 batting average and 49 RBI to go with 10 home runs and three errors in 473 chances at first base (.994 fielding percentage). He also maintained a 3.86 grade point average on his way to earning a degree in general studies.

Biddy earned Academic All-Southland honors to go with last month’s third team all-conference notice after establishing himself as one of the Southland’s premier closers. The Iowa Park, Texas native finished with a 2.92 ERA in 26 relief appearances and recorded 12 saves – good for second in the Southland and tied for the second-most in a season in school history. Biddy earned his general studies degree last month with a 3.50 GPA.

Tassin, who was drafted in the 31st round of the MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers last week, was named to the Southland All-Academic team for the second time, having previously been a second team pick in 2017. The Walker, Louisiana native was one of SLU’s steadiest arms out of the bullpen for the third straight season.

The redshirt junior right-hander was third on the team in wins, finishing 5-2 overall with a 3.89 earned run average in a team-high 27 relief appearances. Opponents hit .253 off Tassin in his third year in the green and gold. Tassin currently carries a 3.87 GPA as an accounting major.

Rounding out the Lion All-Academic contingent was Knopp, who earned honorable mention All-Southland honors last month. The Fort Scott, Kansas native was second in the Southland in wins, finishing 8-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 16 appearances. In the classroom, he was a general studies major with a 3.53 grade point average.

Student-athletes must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, be in their second season at their current institution and be significant on-field contributors to be considered for inclusion on the Southland All-Academic teams. The teams are selected by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and academic coordinators.
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