The Big 12 Conference has announced the 2014 All-Big 12 Baseball Teams and postseason individual award-winners. Oklahoma State’s Zach Fish has been named the Player of the Year, while the Cowboys’ head coach, Josh Holliday, is this year’s Coach of the Year. TCU’s Preston Morrison is the league’s Pitcher of the Year. Sheldon Neuse (Oklahoma) was tabbed Freshman of the Year and Adam Kirsch (Texas Tech) was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
The team and awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
Fish becomes the second Cowboy to earn Player of the Year honors (Tyler Mach, 2006). The junior outfielder helped lead OSU to its first Big 12 regular season title this year, batting .321 in 54 games and .297 in Big 12 play. Fish is currently ranked in the league’s top 10 in hits (tied 9th, 67), total bases (3rd, 110), slugging percentage (3rd, .526) and home runs (2nd, 10). He is third in the league with 22 multi-hit games and has nine multi-RBI games on the year.
Morrison is the league’s ERA leader with a 1.18 mark in 14 games started this season. The junior is 8-3 on the year and has turned in a quality start in 12 of his 14 starts. He leads the league with three shutouts and is tied for the league lead with four complete games. The right-hander tops the conference in opponent batting average, holding hitters to a .199 average. He has pitched eight or more innings in eight of his nine games, has 70 strikeouts, 42 of which came in Big 12 play, where he compiled a 5-1 record and 1.14 ERA.
Kirsch, a transfer from Florida International, ranks in the top 10 in five offensive categories for overall and Big 12 games. In overall contests, he is the Big 12’s doubles leader (19), ranks second in slugging percentage (.552), third in RBI (45), tied for third in home runs (9) and fourth in total bases (106). In Big 12 contests, the outfielder leads the league in home runs (6) and is in the top five in RBI (17), runs (16) and slugging percentage (.500). Kirsch is TTU’s second Big 12 Newcomer of the Year recipient, joining Keith Ginter, who claimed the honor in the league’s inaugural season in 1997.
Neuse, an infielder and pitcher from Fort Worth, Texas, is the only freshman in the league’s top 10 for home runs (7th, seven), doubles (3rd, 17), RBI (tied 5th, 40), total bases (2nd, 117) and slugging percentage (4th, .522). He is the league leader in triples with seven on the season. Neuse owns a .290 batting average in overall games and has also made eight appearances on the mound for the Sooners with 10 innings pitched on the season. He has 20 multi-hit games and is the second Sooner to claim Freshman of the Year honors in Big 12 history (Garrett Buechele, 2009).
In his second season at Oklahoma State, Holliday has guided the Cowboys to their first regular season Big 12 title with an 18-6 conference record and a 41-14 overall mark. Under Holliday’s direction, OSU won seven consecutive Big 12 series, something the Cowboys had never done. OSU’s previous longest Big 12 series winning streaks of six came in 2006 and 2008. A three-time All-Big 12 honoree from 1997-99, Holliday was a freshman on the Oklahoma State team that won its 16th straight Big Eight crown in the 1996 season. In two years at Stillwater, Holliday has amassed an 82-33 record, back-to-back 40-win seasons and a 31-16 mark in Big 12 games. This season the Cowboys topped the league in conference ERA with a 2.43 mark, are first in walks and on-base percentage, earned a national ranking as high as No. 6, and overcame deficits in 23 of their 41 wins. He is the first Oklahoma State head coach to claim the Coach of the Year honor.
TCU and Oklahoma State claimed the most All-Big 12 honorees with seven apiece. The Horned Frogs selections included four first team honorees in Boomer White, Riley Ferrell, Brandon Finnegan and Morrison. Oklahoma State led all squads with six first team selections. Along with Fish, Gage Green and Donnie Walton earned first team distinctions, while Brendan McCurry and Vince Wheeland were selected for their roles as relievers and Jon Perrin earned a starting pitcher first team nod. The All-Big 12 First Team featured four relief pitchers, including Big 12 saves leader Josh Michalec (Baylor), who matched the Big 12 single-season record for saves in a season with 20.
Texas Tech claimed three first team selections, while Oklahoma and West Virginia each earned a pair. Texas’ Mark Payton, along with Fish and Finnegan, repeated as first team honorees after earning spots on the team in 2013. On the All-Freshman Team, Neuse and TCU’s Tyler Alexander were selected as unanimous choices. Texas led all teams with three freshman in Tres Barrera, Morgan Cooper and Zane Gurwitz.
2014 ALL-BIG 12 BASEBALL AWARDS
Player of the Year: Zach Fish, Oklahoma State
Pitcher of the Year: Preston Morrison, TCU
Newcomer of the Year: Adam Kirsch, Texas Tech
Freshman of the Year: Sheldon Neuse, Oklahoma
Coach of the Year: Josh Holliday, Oklahoma State
ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM
Name, School Pos. Cl. Hometown/Previous School
Gage Green, Oklahoma State C Jr. Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider
Sheldon Neuse, Oklahoma* INF Fr. Fort Worth, Texas/Keller Fossil Ridge