Donato was West Virginia's sole representative on the 17-man first team. One of six pitchers named, Donato was 3-4 in the regular season, including a pair of tough-luck losses. He compiled a 3.32 ERA in 14 starts, and struck out 110 batters while walking only 20.
The second team had stronger Mountaineer representation, as first baseman Jackson Cramer and outfielder Darius Hill both earned spots. Cramer finished the regular season with eight home runs, 14 doubles and 41 RBI, while also nailing a .303 batting average. Hill hit .348 while piling up 19 doubles and 36 RBI.
WVU also put five players on the honorable mention list, including Kyle Davis, Jimmy Galusky, Michael Grove, Blake Smith and Ivan Vera. Vera and Hill were also members of the league''s all-freshman team. Vera, perhaps due to his position switch from catcher to third base, did not get on the first- or second-team all-league squads despite a .407 batting average.
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League champion Texas Tech highlights the 2016 All-Big 12 baseball awards as the Red Raiders collect eight all-conference selections, Tim Tadlock unanimously earns Big 12 Coach of the Year and Eric Gutierrez takes home Big 12 Player of the Year.
Oklahoma State and TCU repeat with the Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors, respectively, as the Cowboys’ Thomas Hatch wins the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and the Frogs’ Luken Baker is the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Jake Scudder (K-State) wins 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.
Gutierrez, who also becomes a three-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree, is the first Red Raider to win the Big 12 Player of the Year since Tech’s last Big 12 regular season championship in 1997 (Joe Dillon). The senior first baseman led the Big 12 in conference-only games in home runs, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage. His 14 multi-RBI games on the year are the most in the league. He is the league’s active career leader in games played, at-bats, hits, runs, RBI, doubles, home runs, total bases and walks. In overall games this season, he sits in the league lead for runs and RBI.
Hatch is Oklahoma State’s third Big 12 Pitcher of the Year recipient in the past five years after Michael Freeman took home the honor last season and Andrew Heaney won in 2012. Hatch missed the 2015 season with a sprained UCL, but returned to the OSU rotation as the Cowboys’ Friday night starter this year. In 14 starts as a redshirt sophomore, he is 6-2 with a Big 12-best 2.10 ERA. The right-hander also leads the conference with 98.2 innings pitched. Hatch threw three straight complete game shutouts this season (TCU, Texas and Prairie View A&M), becoming the 10th pitcher in Big 12 history to record three shutouts in a season. Additionally, he went 38.2 innings without allowing an earned run starting from the seventh inning of his start against Texas Tech on April 8 until the fourth inning vs. Oklahoma on May 13. The only runs he gave up during the streak were two of the unearned variety against Baylor on April 15. Hatch also recorded a streak of 33 consecutive scoreless frames and has won a pair of Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
Baker is the second-straight Big 12 Freshman of the Year for the Frogs after Connor Wanhanen claimed the award in 2015. The Spring, Texas, native is a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection as a designated hitter and utility player while also earning unanimous honors on the All-Freshman Team. Appearing in all 52 games for TCU, he finished the regular season with the 10th-best batting average in the league (.340), while also ranking in the top 10 in walks, RBI and on-base percentage. In conference-only contests, he hit .371. In 10 games started on the mound, he posted a 1.70 ERA and 3-1 record, fanning 41 in 47.2 innings.
Scudder is the first Wildcat to win the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year accolade. The junior transfer from Iowa Western Community College closed out the season with the best batting average in conference-only games, hitting .407, while also tying for the most hits in league action. He ranked third in Big 12 games in slugging percentage, fourth in total bases and sixth in on-base percentage. An All-Big 12 Second Team member, he finished the regular season with 13 multi-RBI games and 21 multi-hit games.
Tadlock, a unanimous selection for the honor, took a Texas Tech team predicted to finish fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll to its first Big 12 regular season title since the league’s inaugural season in 1997. In his fourth year at the helm, Tadlock has produced the winningest senior class at TTU, guided the Red Raiders to an 8-0 record in Big 12 series openers and finished the conference season with the fourth-best win percentage in league games in conference history (19-4, .792). The Red Raiders won seven of their eight conference series and strung together a school-record 11-game Big 12 win streak. Tech went 10-2 in Big 12 play on the road, becoming just one of 12 teams to record double-digit away wins in conference history.
Texas Tech and Oklahoma State pace league teams with four All-Big 12 First Team honorees while Kansas and TCU also place multiple members on the first team.
Oklahoma’s Sheldon Neuse becomes a three-time unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection, while Oklahoma State’s Donnie Walton and Tech’s Gutierrez have also earned first team recognition for three seasons straight. The trio joins just seven other Big 12 players who have garnered All-Big 12 First Team selections in three seasons. Gutierrez and Walton are the first three-time first team recipients for their programs.
The Red Raiders tallied a total of eight All-Big 12 selections between the first and second teams, with TCU totaling seven and Oklahoma State five. Twelve of the 17 first team selections were unanimous choices with 14 of the members earning their first All-Big 12 First Team distinction.
On the All-Freshman Team, TCU led the way with four honorees, including Baker’s unanimous nod. Tech’s Davis Martin, an All-Big 12 First Team honoree, was also a unanimous choice. Dalton Horton (TCU), Steven Gingery (Texas Tech) and Darius Hill (West Virginia) were named to the All-Freshman Team, as well as selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team.