Oklahoma State's Zach Fish has been named the 2014 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, Josh Holliday is the Big 12 Coach of the Year and 11 Cowboys earned All-Big 12 accolades, it was announced by the league office today. The Big 12 awards are voted on by the league's head coaches.
Fish becomes OSU's second Big 12 Player of the Year, joining Tyler Mach, who was the league's co-player of the year in 2006. Holliday is the first-ever Cowboy boss to earn Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
Joining Fish on the All-Big 12 First Team are catcher Gage Green, infielder Donnie Walton and pitchers Brendan McCurry, Jon Perrin and Vince Wheeland. The six All-Big 12 first teamers are the most in program history, surpassing the four of the 1999 and 2003 Cowboys.
Earning All-Big 12 Second team plaudits was second baseman Tim Arakawa, while Tanner Krietemeier and Craig McConaughy garnered honorable mention recognition. Blake Battenfield and Tyler Buffett rounded out the list of OSU honorees as that pitching duo was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team.
"All of the accomplishments of individuals are a result of the hard work and connection of everybody involved so we're all proud of our teammates," Holliday said. "We certainly recognize the great talent up-and-down the conference and to be recognized and voted on by the coaches across the league is a great compliment to our players, especially considering all the great talent the Big 12 has this year.
"It's awesome recognition for some quality players, and we have other quality players who are also key to our success. I'm very proud of all our players and glad these particular players were honored for their outstanding seasons."
A junior from Kalamazoo, Mich., Fish has been one of OSU's top hitters throughout the season. He's hitting .321 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs on the year and leads the Cowboys with 22 multi-hit games to go along with nine multi-RBI efforts.
Spending the majority of his time in right field while also seeing time as the Cowboys' designated hitter, Fish ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in numerous offensive categories, including hits (9th with 67), home runs (2nd), doubles (T-9th with 13), total bases (3rd with 110) and slugging percentage (3rd at .526).
"I'm proud of Zach (Fish) for the maturity and growth he's shown as a person and a player," Holliday said. "To get an award like this in such a prestigious conference is not easy to come by. Alongside Tyler Mach, we now have two Big 12 Players of the Year, and we're very proud of both those kids.
"Zach has had a great season. Hard work and growth have allowed him to be a huge part of our team success, and our team is proud of the individual recognition he garnishes. But most importantly is the growth he's shown as a player and a leader, and I hope this award inspires him to continue to play the game the right way and help our team reach our goals."
In his second season at the helm, Holliday has guided his alma mater to 41 wins and the Cowboys' first-ever Big 12 Conference regular season championship. OSU finished atop the league standings with an 18-6 mark to claim the 31st conference title in program history. After dropping its league opening series at Baylor, OSU won seven-straight Big 12 series for the first-time ever in a season to claim the crown.
Along with the Big 12 title, OSU has climbed to as high as No. 6 in the national rankings this season and is currently ranked seventh in a pair of national polls. The Cowboys recently turned in a 12-game winning streak that tied for the program's longest as a member of the Big 12.
Wheeland joins Fish to become the sixth and seventh players in OSU history to earn All-Big 12 First Team accolades twice in a career, along with Holliday (1998-99), Jason Jaramillo (2003-04), Corey Brown (2005, 2007), Mach (2006-07) and Jordy Mercer (2006, 2008).
In 26 outings this season, Wheeland is 8-0 and ranks second in the Big 12 in ERA (1.32) and opponent batting average (.199). His eight wins are tied for the second most in the league, while his 26 appearances are tied for fifth. He also ranks in the top 10 nationally in ERA (10th) and WHIP (6th at 0.84)
A native of Tupelo, Okla., McCurry has turned in a record setting senior season. In 30 appearances, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA and ranks fifth in the NCAA with 16 saves. He has allowed just two runs in 40.0 innings and has given up only 26 hits while recording 45 strikeouts.
McCurry, now a two-time All-Big 12 honoree after making the second team as a utility player a year ago, has shattered the OSU records for single-season saves and career saves, with that total currently standing at 24.
Green's versatility and production has made him one of the Cowboys' most reliable performers in 2014. Splitting his time between catcher and the outfield, Green is OSU's leading hitter with a .330 batting average to go along with three home runs and 28 RBIs. A junior from Wichita Falls, Texas, he is tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 18 stolen bases, which is a career high, and ranks seventh in doubles (14) and on-base percentage (.419).
Perrin has flourished in his role as OSU's Friday night starter, which he took over in the middle of March. In 18 appearances, 10 of those starts, the righty is 7-3 with a 1.81 ERA, which ranks as the fourth lowest in the Big 12. He also ranks in the top 10 in the conference in wins, shutouts and complete games (two apiece) as well as innings pitched (4th at 84.2) and strikeouts (4th with 72).
Walton, who has started all 55 games for the Cowboys at shortstop, is hitting .287 with three homers and 31 RBIs. He leads the Big 12 with 17 sacrifice bunts, which ranks seventh nationally, and is among the top 10 in the league in doubles (13) and walks (34). Earlier this season, he reached base safely in 27-straight games.
In his first season in a Cowboy uniform, Arakawa leads OSU with 39 RBIs, and he ranks second in the conference in walks (39) and fourth in stolen bases (14). The Honolulu native has started every game at second base for the Cowboys and is hitting .264 to go along with a team-leading 12 multi-RBI games.
McConaughy is OSU's leading hitter in Big 12 play at .314, and in 53 games, the third baseman is hitting .325 to go along with a .461 on-base percentage.
An All-Big 12 Second Team performer as a junior, Krietemeier is hitting .266 and is tied for third in the Big 12 with nine homers. He's added 38 RBIs and 10 multi-RBI games, while also recording 16 multi-hit efforts.
In Battenfield and Buffett, the Cowboys have two of the top young hurlers in the conference. Battenfield is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 22 appearances, while Buffett has emerged as a weekend starter and is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 12 outings.