Seven K-State baseball players receive All-Big 12 recognition
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - The Big 12 awards recognized multiple Wildcats.
Seven Kansas State baseball players received All-Big 12 Conference recognition on Tuesday as the conference unveiled the 2023 All-Big 12 Baseball Awards.
Sophomore Tyson Neighbors was voted First Team All-Big 12, while senior Owen Boerema earned Second Team honors. Nick Goodwin, Brady Day, Raphael Pelletier, Kaelen Culpepper, and Brendan Jones also received honorable mention.
Neighbors received All-Big 12 accolades for the first time in his career as he leads the Big 12 in saves (10) while ranking sixth in strikeouts (78). The right-hander from Royse City, Tex. was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 reliever by D1Baseball.com and boasted a team-low 2.01 ERA while holding a 5-1 record in 24 appearances.
Neighbors is the first Wildcat to earn First Team honors since Jordan Wicks. Wicks became the program’s first-ever first-round draft pick in 2021 after he was selected 21st overall by the Chicago Cubs. Neighbors was invited to the 2023 USA Baseball National Collegiate Team Training Camp and will compete for an opportunity to represent the United States in a series against Chinese Taipei and Japan this July.
In his first season with K-State, Boerema ranks third in the league with 90 strikeouts which ties sixth in the program’s single-season records. The left-handed starter from Litchfield, Minn., is 7-1 on the mound and is one of six pitchers to strikeout 12-plus batters in a single appearance after he fanned 12 in the series opener against Texas.
Goodwin earns honorable mention honors for the second consecutive season as the junior leads the league and ranks fourth in Division I in sacrifice flies. The product out of Overland Park., Kan., is a Brooks Wallace Award Semifinalist and has put together a slash line of .285/.393/.517 to go with 12 home runs and a career-high 53 runs batted in.
Day took another step this season. He is slashing .354/.489/.459 with eight doubles, one triple, and three home runs. The native of Hampstead, N.H., has recorded a team-high 18 multi-hit games and has reached base in 35 consecutive contests. Day is also the third toughest player in the league to strike out — striking out just 20 times in 181 at-bats (9.0 at-bats per strikeout).
Pelletier, a Buster Posey Catcher of the Year Watch List member, received honorable mention honors. Behind the plate, the Quebec, Canada product has gunned down a league-high 16 runners this season for a .590 stolen bases allowed percentage. Pelletier has backstopped 49 games this season while recording five doubles and five home runs to go with 26 RBI and 28 runs.
Culpepper enters the Big 12 Championship with a slash line of .311/.418/.570, including eight doubles and a career-high nine home runs with 36 runs driven in. The Memphis, Tenn. product has produced 13 multi-hit games since returning to the field from injury.
Jones, a product of Greenbrier, Tenn., is one of just five players in the league to field a perfect 1.000 as the sophomore has started in all 55 games in centerfield with 113 putouts and two assists. Offensively, he is hitting .239 with 11 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 30 RBI. He leads the team in runs scored (50) and ranks second in the Big 12 with 26 stolen bases on the year. The latter ranks seventh in the Cats’ single-season records.
The 2023 All-Big 12 Baseball Teams were selected by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for themselves or their own players.
K-State enters the 2023 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship as the No. 5 seed and will face fourth-seeded TCU on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Wednesday’s contest between the Wildcats and Horned Frogs will be broadcast on ESPNU and the ESPN app. Radio coverage for the tournament will be available on the K-State Sports Radio Network with free audio streaming at //kstatesports.com/watch.
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