Cowboys Honored On Eve Of Big 12 Tourney

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will open up play in the Big 12 Tournament, being held for the first time in Tulsa at ONEOK Field, at 7:30 Wednesday night when as the two seed they take on seventh seed West Virginia. Before opening play in the Big 12 event there were 10 Oklahoma State players honored by the league, topped by Michael Freeman being named the 2015 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Freeman, a senior southpaw, becomes the second Oklahoma State player to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors, joining former Cowboy Andrew Heaney, who captured the award in 2012.

"I'm extremely proud of Mike. He's such a great story – he's very deserving of an honor of this stature and it’s something he earned in every way," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday.

"As great as our history is, it’s one of the more notable achievements, and it’s really rewarding for the dominan year he had. With Andrew Heaney winning the award several years ago, Brendan McCurry being a first-team All-American last year and now Mike, it’s been really awesome what our pitching has been able to accomplish recently."

Joining Freeman on the All-Big 12 First Team are catcher Gage Green and infielder Donnie Walton, who both repeated as first-team performers. Walton's being named was especially impressive as he missed much of the non-conference seaso after suffering a wrist injury in the opener at Arizona State.

Earning a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team for the second consecutive year was infielder Tim Arakawa, while outfielders Ryan Sluder and Corey Hassel were named all-conference for the first time in their careers and joined Arakawa on the second team. Hassel was impressive as he has come on from being a reserve to a full-time starter and his pitching and walk-off game winner in the marathon extra innings win to open the series with Texas was a highlight of the season.

The Cowboys also had three All-Big 12 honorable mention performers in pitchers Trey Cobb and Remey Reed and infielder Dustin Williams, while infielder Jacob Chappell was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

Freeman’s breakout 2015 season saw the 6-foot-8, Broken Arrow, Okla. native dominate on a weekly basis as a member of the Cowboys’ weekend rotation. In 13 starts, he is 9-2 with a 1.06 ERA, which ranks fourth nationally. Following his first start of the season at Arizona State (Feb. 15), he has allowed just seven earned runs in 84.0 innings (0.71 ERA) over his last 12 starts.

Freeman leads the Big 12 with 93.2 innings pitched, three complete games and a .183 opponent batting average, and he ranks second in wins, ERA and strikeouts (85).

In Big 12 play, Freeman went 5-2 with three complete games and a 0.80 ERA in seven starts while racking up 49 strikeouts in 56 innings. In his only losses, he allowed just one earned run combined as the Cowboys lost those games 3-2 and 2-1.

Freeman tied a record by capturing Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors four times in 2015 – March 2, 23 and 30 and April 27 – to become one of only three pitchers in league history to achieve that feat.

Green earned first-team all-conference honors for the second-straight year on the strength of hitting .286 with five home runs and 29 RBIs, while the senior also recorded 14 multi-hit games on the year. The versatile athlete, who also spends time in the OSU outfield, leads the Cowboys with 17 stolen bases, which ranks third in the Big 12, and is third nationally with 17 sacrifice bunts.

Despite missing 19 games as the result of a broken bone in his wrist, Walton once again emerged as one of the Big 12’s best in his junior season. In 32 games, the switch-hitting shortstop is hitting .315 with three homers and 23 RBIs to go along with 10 sacrifice bunts and standout defensive play up the middle.

Arakawa has continued his role as a run producer for the Cowboys in 2015 and is among the Big 12 leaders with 11 multi-RBI games. He sports a .293 batting average and leads OSU with 35 RBIs, a total that ranks in the top 10 in the league, to go along with 10 doubles and nine stolen bases. The senior enters the Big 12 Championship having reached base safely in 26-straight games.

Both Hassel and Sluder had breakout seasons for the Cowboys in 2015.

A native of Stillwater, Okla., Hassel is hitting .312 with three homers, 10 doubles and 30 RBIs while also ranking in the top 10 in the conference with 10 stolen bases. A junior, Hassel leads the Cowboys with 15 multi-hit games, and he hit .344 with two homers and 18 RBIs in Big 12 play, leading the team in RBIs, hits (31) and doubles (6).

Sluder leads OSU with a .316 batting average, 13 doubles and six homers in 43 games (37 starts), and he went on a tear in Big 12 play, leading the Cowboys with a .403 average – the highest in the league in Big 12 games – to go along with five homers, 10 RBIs and a .710 slugging percentage. The sophomore’s standout play in center and left fields included a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Among the OSU honorable mention performers, Cobb leads the Cowboys with 27 appearances and is 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA and two saves, while Reed is 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in 20 outings. Williams is hitting .278 with five homers, 32 RBIs and a .463 slugging percentage.

A native of Guthrie, Okla., Chappell’s All-Freshman Team season has seen him hit .270 with 19 RBIs and 12 sacrifice bunts while starting 44 games for the Cowboys on the infield.

2015 Oklahoma State Cowboys All-Big 12
First Team – Gage Green (C), Donnie Walton (INF), Michael Freeman (P) – Big 12 Pitcher of the Year

Second Team – Tim Arakawa (INF), Corey Hassel (OF), Ryan Sluder (OF)

Honorable Mention – Trey Cobb (P), Remey Reed (P), Dustin Williams (INF)

All-Freshman Team – Jacob Chappell (INF)

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