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Cowboys, Sooners Flood All-Big 12 Teams

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Cowboys

Oklahoma State's Michael Freeman was named the 2015 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and is one of 10 Cowboys to earn All-Big 12 Conference accolades, it was announced by the league today.

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 dominant 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. 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.

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.

Sooners

Juniors Craig Aikin and Kolbey Carpenter led the way as unanimous selections for the University of Oklahoma baseball team on the All-Big 12 First Team as voted on by the league's coaches. The Sooners landed four players on the First Team; the second most in the league and the most for OU since 1998.

Aikin, the Oklahoma center fielder, was a two-time All-Big 12 Second Team selection prior to this season and ranks second on the team with a .349 batting average. He finished the regular season tied for first in the conference with Carpenter in hits at 82 and ranked second in runs scored with 47. Aikin leads the Sooners with 14 doubles on the year, which ranks seventh in the league. For the season, he has totaled 22 multi-hit games, including three four-hit games and an OU record six-hit effort against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 3.

Carpenter is a first time All-Big 12 selection and has earned starts at four positions this season; 36 of which have come at second base. After just 100 at-bats as a sophomore, he cemented himself in the Sooner lineup hitting sixth, lead-off and now third. Carpenter is second in the Big 12 in hitting and first on Oklahoma at .363. He is also second in the league with a .549 slugging percentage and tied for third with a team-leading eight home runs. Carpenter was selected the Big 12 Player of the Week on three occasions; the most in the league this season and just the third player to ever earn the award three times in a year. He was also honored as a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week in February.

Joining Aikin and Carpenter on the First Team are junior Anthony Hermelyn and sophomore Sheldon Neuse. Hermelyn, who split his time between catcher and first base, earned his way on to the First Team in the utility spot. He is riding a 10-game hit streak that has lifted his average to .316 on the season with five home runs and a league-leading 47 RBI. Hermelyn was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on April 6 after the Sooners completed a home sweep over Kansas.

Neuse solidified the Oklahoma shortstop position this season after earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2014. He is a repeat First Team honoree and was named Big 12 Player of the Week on March 9. For the season, he is hitting .287 with 39 RBI on six home runs to go with a team-high 10 stolen bases.

The Sooners pitching staff was well represented on the All-Big 12 Second Team with redshirt-senior Robert Tasin and junior Jacob Evans among those honored. Tasin, a right-hander, was thrust into a weekend starting spot for the second series of Big 12 play after a stellar relief appearance in a win over Texas Tech. Overall, he is 8-2 with a 2.64 earned run average and 52 strikeouts in 71.2 innings of work, which includes 10 starts and seven relief outings. Tasin has posted a spotless 5-0 record in Big 12 play; the most conference wins in a season by a Sooners since 2011.

The left-handed Evans resumed the closer role this season; a role that earned him All-Big 12 Second Team as a freshman in 2013. He owns a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.79 ERA and eight saves; which is third in the league. In 40.1 innings, all out of the bullpen, Evans has totaled 52 strikeouts to 10 walks, while holding opponents to a .232 average. His season was highlighted with a win over Kansas on April 2 in which he started a ninth-inning rally with a lead-off single to erase a four-run deficit, pitched a scoreless top of the 10th and lead off the bottom with a walk-off home run.

Sophomore right-handers Jake Elliott and Alec Hansen along with freshman infielder Kyle Mendenhall were each recognized as All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. In the Friday starter's role, Elliott is 4-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 80 strikeouts, ranking fourth in the Big 12. Hansen is 5-6 with a league-leading 93 strikeouts to go with a 4.05 ERA. Mendenhall has burst on to the scene as of late and sports a .260 average, but is hitting at a .357 clip in 14 Big 12 starts, including six multi-hit games and three three-hit games.

Nine overall honorees is the most for Oklahoma since 2013. In 1998, the Sooners placed a program-best five on the All-Big 12 First Team. The only other year Oklahoma has had four players honored with First Team recognition was 1997; the inaugural season of the Big 12.


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