STEPHENVILLE – The accolades from Tarleton’s baseball season continue to pour in as Blake Adams, Nathan Hickey, and Francisco Rodriguez were voted among the best in the South Central Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association Wednesday afternoon.
“We are very excited for these three young men,” said head coach Bryan Conger. “They have been tremendous Texans and great representations of our program and this university. They are first-class individuals and absolutely deserving of this recognition.”
Adams and Hickey were selected to the first team while Rodriguez earned a second-team nod from the coaches.
Adams had arguably one of the greatest offensive seasons in program history as the senior from Longview is hit .390 with 74 runs scored, 16 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs, and 69 RBI – all from the leadoff spot in the Tarleton lineup. He led the league in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage (.781), and hit by pitches (25) while also ranking among the top three in the LSC in batting average, hits, and RBI.
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 third career all-region honor after being named to the NCBWA and D2CCA All-Region First Teams earlier this month.
Hickey enjoyed a banner season in his senior campaign, in which he was named the LSC Pitcher of the Year, All-LSC First Team, All-LSC Gold Glove, NCBWA and D2CCA All-Region First Team. 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.
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. He also set the single-season strikeout record for the Tarleton program with 96 punch outs this year.
This completes a clean sweep over the last two seasons for Hickey as the senior from Granbury adds three first-team awards in 2018 to his three second-team awards in 2017 from the NCBWA, D2CCA, and ABCA. This gives Hickey six total all-region awards in his career, which is the most by a Texan in program history.
Francisco Rodriguez finished second on the team with a .374 batting average while scoring 50 runs and driving in 53 to go along with 18 doubles, two triples, and 11 home runs. The senior from Venezuela was an NCBWA Region Hitter of the Week and National Hitter of the Week after a record-setting offensive weekend against Cameron in March.
He was an All-LSC First Team selection. This is his first career postseason all-region award.
Adams and Hickey join Chris Casazza as the only ABCA/Rawlings All-Region First Team selections in program history while Rodriguez becomes the eighth Texan in school history to earn second-team honors from the coaches association.
ABOUT THE ABCA
The ABCA All-America team was first recognized in 1949 and now includes nine divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, Pacific Association Division, and high school. ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove teams were first recognized in 2007. The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. The over 9,600 members represent all 50 states and 25 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 75th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 3-6, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.
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