June 15, 2017
2017 Southland Conference Baseball All-Academic Teams Release
FRISCO, Texas - Less than one day after becoming one of the newest members of the MLB’s Detroit Tigers, Stephen F. Austin junior right-handed pitcher Will Vest was named to the Southland Conference All-Academic First Team it was announced by the league office in a press release issued this afternoon. Vest is one of twenty-four baseball players from the 13-team league who earned spots on either the first or second All-Academic Teams.
In May of 2017, Vest earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and carried a 3.367 cumulative GPA when he walked across the stage. His overall GPA received a major boost in the spring of 2017 when he posted a perfect 4.0 GPA for that semester. He is the fifth Lumberjack in program history to earn a spot on the Southland Conference All-Academic First Team, joining Dan O’Neill (2015), Erich Lehmann (2009), Jarid Scarafiotti (2010, 2011, 2012) and Hunter Dozier (2013). In all, SFA has placed 16 student-athletes on the Southland Conference All-Academic Teams since the baseball program was reinstated in 2006.
A product of Houston, Texas, Vest made a move from the ‘Jacks’ infield to the pitching rubber for the 2017 campaign and quickly distinguished himself as one of the top relief arms in the Southland Conference. The right-hander ranked second among all arms in the 13-team league and 35th in all of NCAA Division I baseball by making 31 appearances - all of which came in relief. Those 31 appearances are the third-most in a single season in the history of the program.
Vest worked his way through 45.2 innings of action on the hill and finished with a 3-0 record as well as one save and a 1.38 ERA to show for his efforts. By primarily using an overpowering fastball, Vest let up only 12 runs on 38 hits and 18 walks while striking out 46 batters. Those 46 strikeouts through 45.2 frames work out to a strikeouts per nine innings figure of 9.07 - the seventh-highest single-season mark in SFA history. Those numbers helped Vest earn a spot on the All-Southland Conference Third Team at the conclusion of the 2017 regular season.
A little over one month after graduating from SFA, Vest heard his name called in the 2017 MLB Draft when the Detroit Tigers picked him up with the 365th overall pick in the 12th round. Vest’s selection by the Tigers in the 12th round makes him the third-highest Lumberjack MLB Draft pick in program history and the highest-picked SFA pitcher.
With Vest on their side, the ‘Jacks posted a 29-28 record during the 2017 season. That showing included a 17-13 mark in Southland Conference play that helped SFA sew up the sixth-seed for the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament. It was the second-straight season in which the team qualified for postseason play.
The all-academic teams are voted on by the head coaches, sports information directors and academic/compliance administrators from each Southland University. Student-athletes must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team's competition to qualify for the all-academic squad.