Thursday, May 11, 2017

Big 12 Awards: Sooners Take Home the Hardware

Oklahoma's Paige Parker won her third consecutive Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honor when the annual awards were announced on Wednesday.

Parker was joined in receiving award trophies by teammates Shay Knighten (Player of the Year) and Nicole Mendes (Freshman of the Year), as well as Patty Gasso, who earned Coach of the Year honors after leading her team to a Big 12 regular-season title and a near-perfect record in conference play.

A junior southpaw, Parker was undefeated in conference play and ranked third in the conference with seventeen wins overall. She led the conference in strikeouts with 183, averaging nine strikeouts per game. Opponents batted just .171 against the lefty, a mark that tied for the conference lead, coincidentally with rotation mate Paige Lowary.

Knighten earned the award as the conference's top freshman a season ago, but earned a higher accolade in her second season as a Sooner. She earned a top-ten placement in eight statistical categories and ended the regular season with fifty-five RBI, a mark that paced the conference.

Mendes, unanimously selected as the conference's top freshman in 2017, ended the regular season with a .435 batting average, a .481 on-base percentage, .645 slugging percentage, four home runs, and nineteen RBI. The rookie's slugging percentage led the conference, coming in nearly twenty points above her nearest competition for the title.

Gasso led the Sooners to their sixth consecutive conference regular-season title, with a 17-1 record in conference play along the way. The regular-season championship was the tenth of Gasso's tenure as Sooner head coach.

Each of the conference's seven teams placed at least one representative on the all-conference first- and second-team rosters. Nine Sooners were named to the all-conference teams, a number that led the league. Baylor placed six players on the teams, while Oklahoma State and Texas each boast a trio of representatives. Iowa State, Texas Tech, and Kansas all placed a single player on the rosters.

Three freshmen earned a spot on the all-conference first-team, among them Iowa State's Sami Williams; Texas' Taylor Ellsworth; and Mendes of Oklahoma.

The full all-conference first- and second-team rosters are below. Players are listed in alphabetical order by team.

First Team All-Big 12
Lindsey Cargill, Baylor Sr. INF 
Jessie Scroggins, Baylor Jr. OF
Kelsee Selman, Baylor Sr. RHP 
Kyla Walker, Baylor So. OF 
Sami Williams, Iowa State Fr. INF
Shay Knighten, Oklahoma So. INF 
Paige Lowary, Oklahoma Jr. LHP 
Nicole Mendes, Oklahoma Fr. UTIL
Paige Parker, Oklahoma Jr. LHP
Vanessa Shippy, Oklahoma State Jr. UTIL
Brandi Needham, Oklahoma State Sr. RHP
Taylor Ellsworth, Texas Fr. C/INF

Second Team All-Big 12
Ari Hawkins, Baylor, Sr., INF
Gia Rodoni, Baylor, So., RHP
Harli Ridling, Kansas, Jr., C
Fale Aviu, Oklahoma, So., OF
Caleigh Clifton, Oklahoma, So., INF
Nicole Pendley, Oklahoma, Jr., OF
Sydney Romero, Oklahoma, So., INF 
Rylee Bayless, Oklahoma State, Jr., INF
Madi Sue Montgomery, Oklahoma State, So., UTIL 
Tiarra Davis, Texas, Sr., LHP/INF
Devon Tunning, Texas, Sr., INF
Kierra Miles, Texas Tech, Sr., OF

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