Big 12 Baseball 2013 Season Review
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 07/16/2013
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• Three league squads finished the season ranked in all four national polls. K-State checked in as high as No. 13 (Baseball America), while Oklahoma finished 14th on the same list. Oklahoma State received a No. 19 spot from the NCBWA. The Wildcats finished the season ranked in the top 15 of all four polls – their best finish to a season in program history. Their previous best final ranking was also from Baseball America in 2009 (No. 19). The Big 12 has had three or more teams in the top 25 of the final rankings every year since 1997. OU has finished ranked in the top 25 for the past five years, while this marks the first year the Cowboys have finished in the top 25 since 2008.

• The Big 12 has had at least three teams with 40 or more wins in each season since 1997 as K-State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all reached the 40-win mark this year.

• Three teams (K-State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) earned berths to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, compiling an overall record of 9-6. OU and K-State advanced to the Super Regional field with 3-0 records in regional play. The Big 12 went 8-2 in the opening round of the postseason event. The .800 winning percentage is the best mark in NCAA regional play in league history, surpassing the previous percentage of .722 (13-5) in 2005. The Conference has posted at least a .500 mark in the opening round in all but three years of competition.

• This year marked the fourth straight season the league has sent a pair of teams to Super Regional play and 12th overall since the format began in 1999. The Big 12 has totaled 29 Super Regional appearances and has 90 postseason appearances overall. K-State’s Ross Kivett and Oklahoma’s Max White were named Most Outstanding Players at their respective regionals.

• The Big 12 totaled 38 draft selections in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft with Oklahoma and TCU leading all teams with six picks each. In 17 years, the league has recorded 812 selections. Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray, who was selected by Colorado with the third overall pick, became the second-highest selection in Big 12 history and the highest league pitcher selected all-time.

• K-State claimed its first conference championship in 80 years, set the school record for wins and advanced to the Super Regional round for the first time in program history this season. The Wildcats, selected to finish seventh in the coaches’ preseason poll, went 45-19, including a 16-8 mark in Big 12 play to capture their first league title since 1933. Kansas State’s regular season crown marked the first title for a non-Texas school since 2005 (Nebraska). It is just the fourth time in Big 12 history a league team not from the state of Texas has won the title.

• Oklahoma won its first Big 12 postseason championship since the league’s inaugural season in 1997. The Sooners posted a 4-0 mark in the championship field and tied the championship record for fewest runs allowed, surrendering only eight. The Sooners opened tournament play with a streak of 21.0 shutout innings – a Big 12 Championship record.

• West Virginia, picked to finish last in the coaches’ preseason poll, posted a 33-26 overall record and 13-11 league mark to finish its inaugural Big 12 season in fourth place under first-year coach Randy Mazey.

• Individually, the Wildcats claimed three league postseason awards – Brad Hill (Big 12 Coach of the Year), Ross Kivett (Big 12 Player of the Year) and Jake Matthys (Big 12 Freshman of the Year). Jared King also shared Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors with TCU’s Jantzen Witt. K-State placed seven players on the All-Big 12 First Team and tallied eight All-Big 12 selections overall. Kivett earned All-America accolades from four organizations.

• West Virginia’s Harrison Musgrave was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. The redshirt sophomore also earned four Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors this season, becoming just the second player in league history to accomplish the feat. He compiled a 5-0 record in league play with a 1.02 ERA to lead all starters and recorded double-digit strikeouts against three Big 12 opponents.

• Kansas State led the league in batting with a .322 clip – the second-highest average in the nation. K-State has led the league in batting in three of the past five seasons. The national rank is the highest finish in the category for a Big 12 team. Texas Tech finished third in the nation in 1997.

• The Wildcats also topped the Big 12 in hits (708), runs (412), RBI (368), on-base percentage (.406), slugging percentage (.439), triples (28) and stolen bases (99). The hit and triple totals were both fifth-best in the nation. The Cats had six players with 21 or more multi-hit games on the season. It was the first time in league history K-State has led the Conference in wins, slugging percentage, hits and NCAA RPI.

• In addition to K-State’s statistical rankings on the national level, Texas pitching also ranked in the top 10 in ERA (2.61, seventh) and WHIP (1.13, sixth), while Texas Tech ranked seventh in double plays turned (68). Four league teams, including UT, ranked in the top 25 in ERA - TCU (13th), OU (21st) and OSU (24th). The Longhorns have led the league in ERA in four of the past five seasons. UT’s staff allowed only 137 walks this season – the lowest by a Big 12 team all time.

• Individually, OU’s Jonathan Gray finished the season with the second-highest strikeout total nationally (147). The Big 12 has had a pitcher finish in the top 10 on the national leaderboard for strikeouts for six straight seasons.

• UT’s Mark Payton reached base in 47 of 50 games this season, including a streak of 39 games from March 5-May 17. Payton finished the season with a .393 average to lead the league and rank 12th nationally. He is the first Longhorn since 2005 to claim the league batting title (for overall games). Payton will return to Austin for a senior season in 2014.

• Along with Payton, the four Big 12 postseason award-winners will all return back to the league next spring, including Big 12 Player of the Year Ross Kivett, Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave, Newcomer of the Year Jordan Piché and Freshman of the Year Jake Matthys. Other notable returners include Baylor’s Dillon Newman, K-State’s Shane Conlon and Texas’ Nathan Thornhill, who were drafted in June.

• Oklahoma’s Matt Oberste tallied a 30-game hit streak this season – tied for the third longest hitting streak in Big 12 history. He became the first Sooner to lead the league in slugging percentage, finishing with a .622 clip.

• On the Big 12 career charts, five pitchers finished on the top 10 ERA list, including UT closer Corey Knebel, who also ended his career tied for the second-most saves in Big 12 history (37). Knebel (sixth, 2.07) along with UT pitchers Josh Urban (fifth, 2.01) and Dillon Peters (ninth, 2.35) are on the top 10 list, while Tanner Witt (seventh, 2.08) and Jonathan Gray (eighth, 2.32) also moved onto the leaderboard. Cal Towey (Baylor), Mark Payton (Texas) and Erich Weiss (Texas) are tied with four other players on the Big 12 career triples chart. Additionally, Oklahoma’s Max White finished his career ranked ninth in games played (240) and tied for 10th in at-bats (873).

• Ross Kivett (K-State) Jonathan Gray and Matt Oberste (Oklahoma) and Harrison Musgrave (West Virginia) combined for 11 All-America distinctions. Gray earned first team honors on three of the four outlets’ teams, while Oberste collected first team recognition from the NCBWA along with a second team spot on Baseball America’s list and a third team nod from Collegiate Baseball. Kivett earned a second team honor from the ABCA and third team spots from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Musgrave was a second team member on Collegiate Baseball’s list.

• Eight Big 12 freshman represented the league on the 2013 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team, selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Jake Matthys (Kansas State), Craig Aikin, Jacob Evans and Anthony Hermelyn (Oklahoma), Alex Young and Boomer White (TCU), and Eric Gutierrez and Jarrard Poteete (Texas Tech) were all named to this season’s list. The eight selections are the second-most in Big 12 history. Matthys also earned a spot on the Baseball America Freshman All-America Team.

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