Five Jayhawks Earn All-Big 12 Honors
PDF LIST All-Big 12 Teams (.pdf)
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The league office announced Tuesday morning that five different Kansas baseball players garnered All-Big 12 recognition for their performances throughout the season with senior lefty Ben Krauth and junior catcher Michael Tinsley earning first team distinction.
Alongside Krauth and Tinsley, both unanimous first-team selections, junior closer Stephen Villines and senior second baseman Colby Wright earned second-team honors, while sophomore shortstop Matt McLaughlin graced the honorable mention list.
The 2015 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and second-team honoree, Krauth threw his way to first-team honors as the cornerstone of the Jayhawk pitching staff. Every time the southpaw took the ball, Kansas knew it was going to win. In conference games Krauth started, KU posted a 5-3 record. He became the just the sixth player since 1955 – first since 2012 – in Kansas history to punch out 100 or more batters in a single season, finishing with the fifth-best total at 103.
His 103 strikeouts pushed his career total to 187 and ranks him No. 5 all-time in KU history with 9.18 strikeouts per nine innings. Those 103 K’s were the most by a Jayhawk since Mike Zagurski fanned a school-record 112 batters in 2005. Krauth averaged six and 1/3 innings per start, tossing seven or more frames in seven of his 15 starts including a complete-game shutout against North Dakota (March 11).
Krauth finished third in the regular season in the league in innings pitched (92.0), second in strikeouts (103), first in starts (15) and second in complete games (2). He posted a 3.33 ERA, a 5-6 overall record and held opponents to a .251 batting average.
Tinsley became the first catcher in KU history to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors as he capped off one of the best offensive seasons all-time at Kansas. He posted the best single-season batting average since 2010 with a .377 clip (80-for-212), led the league in average and in hits (80); ranked third in runs scored (47), seventh in RBIs (42) and fifth in on-base percentage (.460).
He blasted 25 multi-hit games that including 15 two-hit, nine three-hit and one four-hit contest. He strung together two different 10-plus game hitting streaks finishing with a season-high 13 and reached base in a team-best 25 consecutive games. At one point, he raised his batting average to .403 during the season. If that was not enough, he was the toughest hitter to strikeout in the Big 12 averaging just one punch out every 11.8 at bats.
Tinsley was a 2015 second-team member at catcher.
Villines finished the season with a 2.13 ERA in 25 appearances, picking up five saves. He tossed 50 and 2/3 innings, struck out 47 batters and was the Jayhawks’ most reliable arm out of the bullpen as he posted a 5-2 record. His second-team honor comes on the heels of back-to-back honorable mention recognitions from the league in 2014 and 2015.
Wright earned his second second-team honor after posting a .341 batting average (60-for-176) in 53 games with 13 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 41 RBIs, 38 runs scored, a .563 slugging percentage and a .466 on-base percentage. He ranked third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage in the conference while leading the way with 18 hit-by-pitches.
McLaughlin rounds out the quintet with his honorable mention recognition from the conference. A member of the 2015 All-Freshman Team, McLaughlin batted .256 (53-for-207) and started and played every defensive inning for the Jayhawks at shortstop. He led the team with seven sacrifice bunts, and ranked second in walks (30) and sac flies (5).
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