After claiming the honor of the best Southland Conference baseball team on the field, winning the regular season championship, the Bearkats staked a claim as the best off the field. The Kats landed a league-best six players on the Southland Conference All-Academic team, including Co-Student Athlete of the Year Dakota Mills.
Sam Houston led the conference with six total selections, with Blake Chisolm joining Mills on the first team. Second team honors went to a quartet of pitchers, Seth Ballew, Riley Gossett, Hayden Wesneski and Nick Mikolajchak.
Mills was the 2018 Southland Relief Pitcher of the Year, racking up the second-most saves in a single season by a Bearkat with 15. He led the team with 74 strikeouts and converted 15 of 17 save chances, with 12 of them coming over multiple innings. He has graduated with a 3.63 undergraduate GPA in finance and is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.
Chisolm, majoring in general business, posted a 3.93 GPA. He hit .321 this season, third best on the club. The senior from Friendswood, was also third on the team in home runs (8) and RBIs (33).
Ballew is a two-time all-academic selection who posted a 3.84 GPA in banking and finance. The senior from Sugar Land was 6-1 this season with a 3.00 ERA, tops among Bearkat starters.
Gossett recorded a 3.80 GPA while majoring in accounting. This past season he was 2-1 on the hill with a 3.66 ERA in 8 starts and 21 total appearances.
Wesneski recorded a 3.82 GPA in general business. The sophomore from Cypress had a team-leading seven wins this year, with a 3.50 ERA. He was second on the team in strikeouts with 67, in a team-high 97 2/3 innings of work.
Mikolajchak was nearly perfect, with a 3.93 GPA, also majoring in general business. Mikolajchak, a sophomore from Houston, was 6-5 on the mound in his first season as a starter. He had a 4.19 ERA while recording 54 strikeouts in 73 innings of work.
Southland All-Academic teams are voted on by head coaches, sports information directors and academic and compliance staff members from each member school. Student-athletes must possess a 3.00 cumulative GPA, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team's competition (excluding pitchers) to qualify. Nominees who were first team all-conference or Google Cloud Academic All-District selections are automatically named Southland All-Academic.
The Southland Conference awards committee, which consists of one administrator from each of the 13 member schools, votes for the Student-Athlete of the Year. Student-Athlete of the Year candidates must have earned at least a 3.20 GPA and demonstrated athletics achievement for at least two years at the nominating institution.