STEPHENVILLE – The region-wide accolades continue to roll in for the Tarleton Texans, who had five players named among the best in the South Central Region by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association Friday afternoon.
Nathan Hickey, Blake Adams, and Eddie Avila were named All-Region First Team while Jake Hasbrouck and Conner Fletcher received second-team recognition.
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, and NCBWA 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 is Hickey’s fifth career All-Region award after earning second-team honors by the ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA last year and the first-team honor from the NCBWA this year.
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 first career all-region honor. This is his second career all-region honor after being named to the NCBWA All-Region First Team earlier this week.
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 43 this season in 28.2 innings of work out of the bullpen this season.
Fletcher was huge for the Texans by stabilizing the starting rotation when Lone Star Conference play began. After spending a year-and-half as a do-it-all pitcher in the bullpen and the occasional spot starts, Fletcher stepped into the starting rotation when league play started and never looked back. He finished the season at 7-2 with a 4.54 ERA and 72 strikeouts. This is his first career all-region award.
Hasbrouck rounded out the recognition for Tarleton by finishing in a three-way tie as the second-team designated hitter in the region. Hasbrouck is a three-time All-LSC selection after hitting .331 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI this year. He led all designated hitters in the region in home runs.
Tarleton finished the season with a record of 35-17 and won the Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship for the second time in school history. The Texans qualified for the NCAA regional tournament for the fourth time in program history.