McMurry’s Hillyer earns first team all-conference, five others collect honors

BCH Sports

RICHARDSON, Texas – The American Southwest Conference released its final postseason all-conference list on Monday afternoon, naming six players from McMurry University as honorees.

The War Hawks had one first team all-conference selection in graduating senior Sam Hillyer, a pair of third team selections and three honorable mentions.

Hillyer became a two-time all-conference selection this season, as he filled the utility player spot on the first team. Hillyer was a two-way player for the War Hawks, starting 32 games as a hitter while making nine appearances on the mound. He had a team-leading .977 OPS, batting .336 with 39 hits and a team-best eight doubles and 29 RBI. He also added six homers and a .560 slugging percentage, both second on the team only to Ryan Potter. Hillyer ended the season on a six game hit streak, batting 13-for-24 in that span. He mainly played first base and right field for McMurry.

As a pitcher, Hillyer had a team-low 2.60 ERA through 17.1 innings, racking up three saves as the primary closer. He also allowed just five earned runs and 12 hits while holding teams to a .182 batting average while on the mound.

Senior Javier Rosa – who plans to return next season with an extra year of eligibility – earned third team honors for his first career all-conference award. Rosa Started all 33 games and had 44 hits with five doubles, 25 runs and 24 RBI. Rosa added power to his game this season, hitting six homers. Prior to this season, Rosa had not hit a collegiate homer. Rosa was most recently named to the D3baseball.com team of the week, ending his last four games batting 12-for-19 with three homers.

Four players earned honorable mentions for McMurry, including outfielder Mike Gonzales. Gonzales was one of two players (Rosa) to start every game and led the team in batting average (.366), hits (48), at-bats (131), stolen bases (4-5) and on-base percentage (.421). He tied for team highs in doubles (6), runs (25) and was one of five players on the team to hit a triple. In the field, Gonzales also helped with one double play and committed just three errors all season for a .966 fielding percentage.

A nominee for McMurry’s Comeback Player of the Year award, junior Nick Hamel missed last season, but came back strong in 2021 to earn honorable mention honors as a first baseman. Hamel hit .317 in 26 starts, going 26-for-82 on the year. The 2018 ASC Freshman of the Year had six doubles, a triple, two homers, 16 runs and 23 RBI. Hamel also pitched for McMurry with his best start coming against Howard Payne at home. He tossed seven scoreless innings with two hits, two walks and six strikeouts. For his efforts, he earned ASC Pitcher of the Week.

Senior Ryan Potter earned ASC honors for the first time, as the California import made the honorable mentions as an outfielder. Potter started 29 games as a two-way player, while also making seven appearances on the mound. He batted .298 with 31 hits – nearly half of which went for extra bases. He had a team-leading seven homers with seven doubles and a triple. Potter also owned a .587 slugging percentage to lead the team, while driving home 26 runs and scoring 20 of his own.

Rounding out the all-conference awards for McMurry is junior Derek Hostas, who earned an honorable mention as a pitcher. Hostas made nine starts and owned a 2-4 record. He led McMurry with 44.0 innings. His best start came against Concordia Texas on the road, as he went 6.0 innings and allowed just one run against the defending ASC Champions. Hostas also tallied a career-high nine strikeouts against Sul Ross State in his final start.

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