Six Big 12 baseball student-athletes have been tabbed to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America teams, as selected by selected by Collegiate Baseball. Sam Stafford (Texas), Corey Knebel (Texas) and Tyler Naquin (Texas A&M) have earned first team selections, while Hoby Milner (Texas), Ross Stripling (Texas A&M) and Michael Wacha (Texas A&M) are second team members.
Knebel, Naquin and Stripling have also garnered first team recognition on the NCBWA preseason All-America team.
Knebel, Milner and Stafford were part of a Longhorn pitching corps that finished 2011 with the second lowest ERA in the nation at 2.35. Stafford posted a 6-2 record and a 1.77 ERA last season to go along with his 91 strikeouts in 81.3 innings pitched. Fellow southpaw Milner was 7-4 with a 2.45 ERA, appearing in 32 games with nine starts.
In 2011, Knebel earned the NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Stopper of the Year awards. The right-hander set the Texas freshmen record with 19 saves and was 3-2 with a 1.13 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. He allowed just 28 hits and seven earned runs, while holding opponents to a .151 batting average. His 19 saves ranked second nationally in 2011. The Longhorn from Georgetown, Texas, was an All-Big 12 first team selection and a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshmen Team. He took home first team All-America honors from Louisville Slugger, Baseball America, NCBWA and ABCA, while collecting Freshman All-America from three organizations.
Naquin, the reigining Big 12 Player of the Year, finished last season first in the league in four offensive categories, including batting average (.381), hits (104), total bases (147) and runs scored (68). His 104 hits also led the nation. The Aggie compiled the league's longest hitting streak of 2011, piecing together a 27-gamer from March 30-May 14. The Spring, Texas-native also held a streak of reaching base in 39-straight games. In Big 12 action, he finsihed first in hits (42), runs scored (26) and was second with a .488 on-base percentage. Last year, he earned second team All-America honors from Louisville Slugger and the ABCA, along with a third team honor from the NCBWA.
Wacha and Stripling combined for a 23-6 record in 2011, starting 35 games for the Aggies.
Stripling tied for the national lead in wins, posting a 14-2 record. The senior ranked third in the Big 12 in innings pitched (125.2), strikeouts (113) and complete games (four). His 2.29 ERA was seventh best in the league. The right-hander helped lead the Aggies to their first College World Series appearance since 1999, limiting opponents to a .202 average. Stripling earned All-Big 12 first team honors, along with third team All-America recognitions from Louisville Slugger and the NCBWA. In addition, he was a third team Capital One Academic All-America recipient.
Wacha, who spent the summer playing with Naquin, Knebel and Milner on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, recorded a 9-4 record in his sophomore campaign last season. The right-hander racked up 123 strikeouts in 129.6 innings pitched, second-best in the league in each category, while his ERA of 2.29 ranked sixth in the Big 12. He earned a third team All-America distinction from Baseball America.
The 2012 Big 12 baseball season begins on Friday, Feb. 17 with conference play kicking off the weekend of March 16.
2012 LOUISVILLE SLUGGER PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAMS
|NAME, SCHOOL||POS||CL||HOMETOWN/PREVIOUS SCHOOL|
|Sam Stafford, Texas||SP||Sr.||Spring, Texas/Klein Collins|
|Corey Knebel, Texas||RP||So.||Georgetown, Texas/Georgetown|
|Tyler Naquin, Texas A&M||OF||Jr.||Spring, Texas/Klein Collins|
|Hoby Milner, Texas||SP||Jr.||Fort Worth, Texas/Paschal|
|Ross Stripling, Texas A&M||SP||Sr.||Southlake, Texas/Carroll|
|Michael Wacha, Texas A&M||SP||Jr.||Texarkana, Texas/Pleasant Grove|