A pair of Sam Houston State Bearkats had their name called on Wednesday as Major League Baseball’s amateur draft wrapped up.
Junior righthander Nick Mikolajchak was picked up by the Cleveland Indians with the 340th overall pick in the 11th round, while senior first baseman Hunter Hearn was drafted 780th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 26th round.
Mikolajchak, who has one year of college eligibility remaining, will elect to forego his senior season at Sam Houston State. He finishes his Bearkat career with 22 saves, the second-most in school history.
“Being at Sam was great,” Mikolajchak said. “It was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of great guys that I'm going to be friends with forever, but I feel like I'm ready to take the next step and play for a paycheck.”
For Hearn, being drafted was admittedly “a lifelong dream,” but he also accomplished another longtime goal while at Sam Houston State — completing his college degree.
“I'm the first one in my family pretty much to ever have the opportunity to go to college, just because I don't really come from money,” he said. “My mom and dad would've gone to college, but they never had the opportunity. They had to go to work as soon as they got out of high school, so getting a college degree was a big goal for me.”
When asked what they will remember most about their time with the Bearkats, both players reference winning the school’s first NCAA regional three years ago in Lubbock. However, most important to each is the relationships they built while in Huntsville.
“These are guys that I'm going to continue to be close friends with for the rest of my life,” Mikolajchak said. “I'm looking forward to all the weddings and celebrations that we're going to be having. I'm also looking forward to the eventual super regional team reunion.”
“The regional we won at Lubbock was definitely the biggest baseball memory I have, but it's not so much the baseball,” added Hearn. “I really don't care much about stats or how we've done in the past. I just know the friendships that I've built.
“Coach Deggs was right. When I got to Sam Houston, the first day I was sitting there in the meeting, and he was like, 'Look around. Some of these guys, you don't even know their names yet, but they're going to be in your wedding.' I thought, 'Yeah, right,' but it's so true. Those guys are my closest friends and they're going to be in my wedding someday.”