Nick Little (Pitcher of the Year)
SEWARD, Neb. – Nick Little went from quality pitcher as a freshman in 2017 to a dominant performer in 2018. His improvements ultimately led to him being named the 2018 Hauff Mid-America Sports GPAC Pitcher of the Year, as announced by the conference on Thursday (May 10). Little is the first Concordia baseball player ever to receive the award.
Little was joined with first team all-conference honors by junior second baseman Christian Meza. Meanwhile, sophomore outfielder Wade Council and junior third baseman Thomas Sautel landed on the second team. Senior starting pitcher Cade Moring and sophomore relief pitcher Jake Fosgett collected honorable mention All-GPAC accolades.
With the progression of his slider, Little became more of a swing-and-miss pitcher this spring. The results were remarkable. In his 12 starts, Little covered 91.1 innings, posted a 9-2 record and 2.36 ERA and struck out 90 hitters compared to 81 hits (.231 opponent batting average) and 23 walks allowed. His final totals for innings pitched, complete games (eight) and wins all represented program single-second records. Little managed to cover at least seven innings in all but one of his starts. Among GPAC pitchers, Little ranked first in innings and wins, second in ERA and third in strikeouts. He was an honorable mention All-GPAC choice in 2017.
At the plate, Meza provided head coach Ryan Dupic with his most consistently reliable bat. The Lakeside, Calif., native became the first Bulldog to hit .400 or better since 2007. His .405 average ranked second in the conference. Meza also totaled 35 runs scored, 68 hits (including 14 doubles and two home runs), a team best 41 RBIs, 88 total bases and 19 walks along with an on-base percentage of .472 and slugging percentage of .524. He also topped Concordia with eight stolen bases. His 68 hits are the third most in a single season in school history. Meza will enter his senior season ranked ninth all-time on the program career hits list (156).
In his second collegiate season, Council became a force at the top of the lineup. His numbers improved across the board as compared to his freshman season. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native batted .339, recorded a .428 on-base percentage and slugged a team high .548. In 168 at bats, Council totaled 41 runs, 57 hits, 15 doubles, a triple, a Bulldog best six home runs, 33 RBIs, 92 total bases, 20 walks and seven stolen bases. He pulled off a rare feat in March when he was named the GPAC player and pitcher of the week on the same day. Council moved from honorable mention last season to second team all-conference this spring.
Sautel took on a much larger role in his second season at Concordia. After getting only 48 at bats in 2017, Sautel started 45 of 47 games this spring and finished second on the team with a .371 batting average. He also put up healthy rates such as a .441 on-base percentage and .522 slugging percentage. He added 26 runs, 59 hits, seven doubles, a triple, five home runs, 40 RBIs, 83 total bases and 15 walks. Sautel was especially hot over the second half of the season, ending the campaign on a 10-game hitting streak. He also earned a GPAC weekly honor after a 17-for-34 week at the plate.
Fosgett and Moring were key pieces of a Bulldog pitching staff that broke a program single-season record for most strikeouts. The team’s ace reliever, Fosgett (Carlsbad, Calif.) made 13 appearances out of the bullpen, covering 15 innings. He notched four saves and 21 strikeouts and had a 1.80 ERA. There was not a more devastating strikeout pitcher in the GPAC than Moring (Eagar, Ariz.), who racked up a school record 109 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. He went 4-5 with an unluckily high 4.45 ERA.
Concordia ended its season last week at the GPAC tournament. It went 25-22 overall in 2018.