Dillman Named South Region Rookie of the Year; Joins Hannon & Bitanga on All-Region Team
Emory University freshman pitcher Connor Dillman was named the South Region Rookie of the Year and to the all-South Region First Team by D3Baseball.com, while sophomore outfielder Brandon Hannon was named to the second team and junior pitcher Mike Bitanga earned third team honors.
Dillman set Emory freshman records during the season with eight wins (tied for the best in the conference and 18th in Division III) and 76 strikeouts (second in the UAA and 17th in Division III). His 10.25 strikeouts per nine innings rank 30th in Division III this season, and is the fourth-best mark in a single season in the program's history. Dillman's 2.84 ERA was the best among Emory starters during the season, and he held opponents to a batting average of .235 during his 66.2 innings pitched. He earned all-UAA Tournament honors earlier in the season, going 2-0 with 20 strikeouts in 16 innings during conference play, including a complete-game shutout with 13 strikeouts against Brandeis University, the first nine-inning shutout by an Emory pitcher in nine seasons. Earlier in the season, Dillman became the first Emory pitcher to be named the UAA Rookie of the Year, and just the third Eagle overall, joining Bryan Langbord (2002) and Hannon (2011).
Dillman was the only freshman named to the All-South Region First Team, and one of just two freshmen pitchers across the nation to receive first-team recognition. Only five freshman players in total, including Dillman, were named to an all-region first team.
Hannon, the 2012 UAA Tournament Most Valuable Player and an all-UAA first team selection, led all Emory players this season with a .340 batting average, scoring 40 runs (tied for third among all-UAA players) during the season and driving in 18. He added on 29 walks during the campaign, the third-most among UAA players and 21st-most in Division III, increasing his on base percentage to .451. On the base paths, Hannon was second on the team and third in the UAA with 19 steals on 21 attempts. He also garnered a spot on the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week for the week of March 12th – 19th.
Bitanga, a right-handed closer for the Eagles, finished the regular season with a 1.88 ERA, the best among qualifying Emory pitchers and 80th in Division III. Over his team-high 20 appearances, totaling 43 innings, he has a 5-0 record with nine saves, the second most in a single season in Emory history, and second among Division III pitchers this season. Bitanga is Emory's all-time leader with 17 career saves.
This was the first year that D3Baseball.com has named all-region teams and awardees. Those selected to the all-region teams will be in consideration for the D3Baseball.com all-America teams, to be announced later in the season.
The Eagles advanced to the regional round of the NCAA Division III Championships in 2012, finishing the season with a 26-14 record.