STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton seniors Nathan Hickey, Blake Adams, and Eddie Avila were recognized among the best players in the South Central region Wednesday afternoon when Hickey and Adams were named All-Region First Team and Avila was named All-Region Second Team.
The All-Region teams distributed by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association are voted on by sports information directors from each region.
“We are obviously very happy for those guys,” said head coach Bryan Conger. “They have put in a tremendous amount of work the last few years to progress their game. Even more impressive is the type of teammates they are and how well respected and loved they are by their teammates.”
Hickey is currently enjoying a banner season, in which he has already been named the LSC Pitcher of the Year, All-LSC First Team, and All-LSC Gold Glove. In the regular season, the senior right-hander from Granbury led the LSC in wins (9), complete games (3), shutouts (2), and strikeouts (85) this season while boasting a 3.04 ERA for Tarleton. Hickey was also named the LSC Preseason Pitcher of the Year before the season began in February. He joins Paul Darnell (1999) and Joel Robinson (2003) as the only Texan hurlers to claim the league’s top pitching honor.
Last weekend, he tied the single-season wins mark by earning the victory in the LSC Tournament championship game to give Tarleton an automatic berth in the NCAA playoffs for the fourth time in school history. On the season, Hickey is 10-2 with a 3.54 ERA and 89 strikeouts.
This is Hickey’s fourth career All-Region award after earning second-team honors by the ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA last year.
Adams is having arguably one of the greatest offensive seasons in program history as the senior from Longview is hitting .393 with 73 runs scored, 14 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs, and 69 RBI – all from the leadoff spot in the Tarleton lineup. He leads the league in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage (.792), and hit by pitches (25) while also ranking among the top three in the LSC in batting average, hits, and RBI.
Last weekend, Adams was named the LSC Tournament Championship MVP after hitting .667 with six runs scored, seven RBI, and three home runs for the weekend. This is his first career all-region honor.
Rounding out the Tarleton accolades is Eddie Avila, who earned his first career all-region acclaim with a second-team nod as a relief pitcher.
Avila blossomed into one of the nation’s top closers in 2018 and held the national lead in saves for multiple weeks. He finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the Lone Star Conference with 13 saves. His save against No. 6 West Texas A&M to close out Fletcher’s big win earned Avila the school’s all-time record for saves in a career. He has struck out 38 this season in 25.2 innings of work out of the bullpen this season.
Tarleton is currently back in Canyon for the NCAA South Central Region Tournament, which will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. against West Texas A&M at Wilder Park.