EUNICE, La. – The postseason award call continues for Zach Hester with the LSU Eunice ace becoming the Bengals’ first ever NJCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Year, the organization announced on Monday. Hester was also awarded the same recognition by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
Hester is the first LSU Eunice student-athlete to receive National Pitcher of the Year recognition. The Bengals have also had three National Defensive Players of the Year and Raph Rhymes was honored as the 2010 National Player of the Year.
This is just the latest postseason honor for the Vidor, Texas native. Hester was given All-Region and All-American first-team accolades earlier this month.
“It’s always very fulfilling as a coach to watch a young person get what he deserves,” LSU Eunice head coach Jeff Willis said. “Zach was our hardest worker on and off the field and all of the recognition he has received is the fruit of that labor.”
The 2018 team captain went 13-1 on the season with a 2.34 earned run average, striking out 133 batters. His wins and strikeout total both were tops in NJCAA Division II.
In LSU Eunice’s postseason run to the National Championship, Hester’s light shined brightest. The World Series Pitcher of the Tournament, Hester went 3-0 in four starts during the Region and National Tournaments combined. The sophomore tossed 27 innings, giving up just four runs off 12 hits and six walks while striking out 36 batters in that span.
The Bengals won all four times Hester took the hill, including capturing the Region 23 and National Championships. Hester threw eight innings in LSUE’s title clinching win, receiving a no-decision after giving up three runs off three hits and three walks while striking out nine batters. The Samford signee tallied a career’s best 14 strikeouts in LSUE’s World Series opener versus Brunswick.
Hester etched his name all over the Bengal single-season record books. The Vidor, Texas product finished second in strikeouts (133), tied for fifth in wins (13) and seventh in innings pitched (100.0). The LSUE pitching unit also set the program record for strikeouts in a season (576) and opponent batting average (.215).
Hester also was given NJCAA All-Academic first team recognition after earning a 3.88 grade point average at LSU Eunice. He was recently named Summa Cum Laude during 2018 Spring Commencement.