INDIANAPOLIS – Senior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) was named the G-MAC Player of the Year and nine other players earned all-conference recognition in voting conducted by the league's baseball coaches.
Additionally, head coach Chris Antonides was named the G-MAC Coach of the Year in his second season as the team's skipper as the Panthers claimed the G-MAC North Division title and finished with the best overall record in the conference. ODU has been nationally ranked since March 14 as well and enters the conference tournament with a 32-13 overall record (18-7 G-MAC), and the Panthers sit at No. 4 in the NCAA Midwest Regional Rankings entering this week.
Second team selections included senior Dustin Cowart (Hoover, Ala.), redshirt junior Joe Filosa (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio). Senior Max Banke (Oakwood, Ohio) and junior Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) was named to the honorable mention team as well.
This is the second straight year that Childers has been named the conference player of the year after picking up the honor from the GLIAC last spring. In 42 games, he's batting .443 with 11 homers, 43 RBIs, 67 runs scored, 18 doubles, 5 triples, a .571 OBP and an .852 slugging percentage. His OBP is atop the country, as are his 1.60 runs scored per contest. He ranks third in the country in slugging, is sixth in batting average and 19th in most walks drawn per game.
Childers has 23 multi-hit games, including seven games with three or more hits, has 13 multi-RBI contests, and has reached base in 35 straight games. He was twice named the G-MAC North Division Player of the Week. The 2017 consensus Midwest Region Player of the Year and Second Team All-American, he's batting .381 in his career with 33 homers, 50 doubles, 204 runs scored, 13 triples, 165 RBIs, a .472 OBP and a .647 slugging percentage.
Paterniti is enjoying a career season, batting .362 with two homers and 24 RBIs with 42 runs scored. He also sports a .421 OBP and is slugging .447, with five doubles and a triple. He had a 10 game hitting streak earlier this season and has currently reached base in 11 straight games. He's notched 17 multi-hit games as well this season.
Kaucher sits fourth in the nation in RBIs per game (1.49) and is eighth with a .438 batting average, as well as 11th with a .523 OBP. He's hit seven homers with 58 RBIs, along with eight doubles and four triples, good for a .694 slugging percentage. A 2017 Honorable Mention All-GLIAC performer, Kaucher has hit in 21 straight games and reached base in 34 consecutive contests.
He's tallied 23 multi-hit games and 16 multi-RBI games, including eight with three or more driven in. In his career, Kaucher is batting .365 with 11 homers, 124 RBIs, and a .442 OBP.
Wilson has been superb coming out of the bullpen this spring, sporting a 3-2 record with eight saves and a 2.08 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 42 hitters and walked just five, allowing just 14 hits in his 26.0 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .151 off of him and he has allowed just three extra base hits on the season. Wilson has appeared in 22 games this spring. A starter during his first two seasons with the Panthers, he has a 14-9 career record with a 3.44 ERA, with 156 strikeouts against just 39 walks in 151.2 innings pitched.
Machuga is in his first season as a full-time starter and is batting .361 thus far with two homers, 15 doubles and 44 RBIs. He's also scored 36 runs and sports a .451 OBP and a .488 slugging percentage. This spring, he's registered 18 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI contests, including a seven-RBI performance against Fairmont State on March 13. He had a streak of reaching base safely in 34 straight games earlier this spring as well.
Cowart sports a 3-0 record with a save and a 1.23 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 22.0 innings this spring. He's allowed just 17 hits, holding opponents to a .202 batting average against, and walked just eight this spring. The southpaw did not allow a run in 13 of his 16 outing this season.
Filosa enters the tournament with a 4-1 record on the mound and a 4.11 ERA. He's struck out 64 hitters in 61.1 innings pitched and walked just 24. Filosa has allowed one earned run or less in seven of his 13 outings this spring and allowed more than six hits in just two of his 12 starts this spring as well. He was named the G-MAC North Division Pitcher of the Week twice this season, tossing 7.0 scoreless innings against No. 10 Mercyhurst on Feb. 27, and also after holding Lake Erie to one run in 6.0 innings on April 8.
Bland is hitting a career-high .326 this spring with three homers and a personal-best 32 RBIs as well. He's matched last year's total with 15 stolen bases and has scored 40 runs to go along with seven doubles and a triple. Bland sports a .406 OBP and a .459 slugging percentage. This spring, he's notched 14 multi-hit games, along with nine multi-RBI efforts. He's reached base in each of his last 10 games heading into the tournament.
Banke has set career-highs in runs, hits, doubles, triples and RBIs while also batting a personal-best .321 with a .374 OBP. He has 51 hits, eight doubles, two triples and a homer, to go along with 32 RBIs and 40 runs scored. He's also sporting a .968 fielding percentage and has been a part of 38 double plays this spring with 114 assists. Banke has notched 15 multi-hit games and eight multi-RBI games as well.
Hull has recorded a career-high 31 RBIs this spring while batting .258 with eight doubles and a homer. He's also scored 38 runs this spring and has eight multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI efforts. Hull is batting .297 over his last 20 games with 15 RBIs, and defensively he's been a part of 33 double plays while recording 119 assists.
Ohio Dominican will start the G-MAC Championship with a 6 p.m. contest against Walsh on Wednesday at Prasco Park in Mason.
Contact: Scott Miles