Kansas Baseball Places Three on Rivals' Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Feb. 4, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
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Kansas juniors Brian Heere, Tony Thompson and T.J. Walz have been named Preseason All-Big 12 selections by Rivals.com. The web site released its preseason all-conference selections Thursday.
The three preseason all-conference selections are the most by KU since joining the Big 12 in 1997.
Heere, a 5-foot-11 junior outfielder from Lawrence, Kan., batted .364 last season with five homers, four triples and 40 RBIs. He was one of three Jayhawks selected All-Big 12 Second Team last season, and was also honored on the NCAA Chapel Hill Region All-Tournament team. In four NCAA Tournament games, Heere went 6-for-16 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. He led the Jayhawks in on-base percentage (.459), drawing 39 walks in 248 plate appearances, and scored 55 runs.
Thompson, a 6-foot-4 junior from Reno, Nev., was named a Preseason Second Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA) last week. The junior won the conference’s Triple Crown last season, leading the league in batting average (.389), home runs (21) and RBIs (82). He was named an All-American by four different publications following his sophomore season, as well as First Team All-Central Region and First Team All-Big 12.
He ranked third in Division I baseball in doubles (27), fourth in total bases (186), as well as seventh in RBIs. In 2009, he set single-season Jayhawk records in home runs and total bases, and ranked second in Kansas history in hits (96), doubles and RBIs.
Walz, a 6-foot right-handed pitcher from Omaha, Neb., posted a team-best eight wins last season. He was also selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team in 2009, with a 6-1 record and a 3.74 ERA in conference games. Walz led the team in strikeouts (88) last season, including a 12-K performance against No. 11 Kansas State in his last start of the regular season. Of his eight overall victories, five came against ranked opponents including a 3-2 win over No. 4 Arizona State and a complete game shutout against No. 9 Baylor. Walz completed his 2009 campaign by pitching for the U.S. National Team during its summer tour.
In addition to earning three preseason all-conference picks, the Jayhawks were predicted to finish second in the league behind consensus No. 1 Texas by national college baseball writer Kendall Rogers.
The Jayhawks are coming off a 39-24 campaign that saw them advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years. KU will open the 2010 season on Feb. 19 by hosting Eastern Michigan at Hoglund Ballpark at 3 p.m.