Six Jayhawks Earn Big 12 Academic Honors
IRVING, Texas – Kansas softball has seen its fair share of success on the diamond in 2015 and added achievements in the classroom to its growing list of honors and milestones. Six Jayhawks were named to the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 Teams, as announced by the league office Thursday morning.
Seniors Maddie Stein, Chanin Naudin and Alicia Pille collected Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors along with junior outfielder Shannon McGinley and sophomore hurler Sophia Templin. Sophomore infielder Taylor McElhaney earned Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honors. KU’s six honors mark the fifth-consecutive year that the Jayhawks have had five or more players named to Big 12 academic teams.
A native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Stein garnered her third-straight first-team accolade. Stein, who claimed KU’s RBI title earlier this season, is hitting .359 with six home runs and 40 RBIs. The first baseman has recorded a Big 12-leading 15 doubles during her senior campaign. Stein recorded one of KU’s nine grand slams in 2015, which she hit in walk-off fashion against Omaha (3/15).
After earning back-to-back second team honors, Naudin collected her first Academic All-Big 12 First Team distinction. Naudin has been a permanent fixture at third base for the Jayhawks for the past four seasons and helped KU repeatedly set a new Kansas fielding percentage record. KU’s mark of .979 in 2014 was the second-best in the country. Aside from hitting the first home run at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park, Naudin has contributed nine doubles, seven homers and 31 RBIs, while batting .280 this season.
Pille, a Royse City, Texas native, earned her second Academic All-Big 12 First Team honor. The senior pitcher has a 21-6 record in the circle this season and became the first Jayhawk pitcher since 2001 to reach the 20-win plateau. Pille has struck a season-high 173 batters in 36 appearances. She currently has 646 career K’s, which is good for fourth all-time in Kansas softball history.
Rounding out the first-team selections are McGinley and Templin, each are receiving the award for the first time in their careers. McGinley has appeared in every game this season for KU in the outfield. The Prairie Village, Kansas native is hitting .269 with 10 doubles, a triple and 17 RBIs. In the circle, Templin has a 4-2 mark and a 3.67 ERA. A product of De Soto, Kansas, Templin has struck out 31 in 34 and a third innings of work.
Another first time conference academic selection, McElhaney was named Academic All-Big 12 Second Team. The second baseman has made countless dynamic defensive plays throughout the 2015 season and helped Kansas to the second-best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.977). McElhaney is batting .261 on the year with a total of 29 hits, including a pair of doubles and home runs.
First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA while the second team selections hold a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percentage of participation are also eligible.
The Jayhawks head to Iowa State, May 8-10, to conclude their regular season slate. First pitch is scheduled for Friday, May 8 at 4 p.m., at the Cyclone Sports Complex.
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