University of Oklahoma baseball had its best year academically in over a decade as eight student-athletes were named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team. Five Sooners earned First Team recognition, while three were a part of the Second Team.
Seniors Kyle Hayes (Santee, Calif.), Drew Krittenbrink (Okarche, Okla.) and Dylan Neal (McKinney, Texas) along with juniors Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Robert Tasin (Klein, Texas) each landed on the First Team with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20 or better.
Junior Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas) and sophomores Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) round out the Second Team with GPAs between 3.00 and 3.19.
In Pete Hughes’s first season at the helm, eight total members is the most OU baseball has had honored by the Big 12 since nine student-athletes achieved the honor under Larry Cochell in 2003. All eight are first-time recipients of Academic All-Big 12 recognition.
Hayes is a criminology major and right-handed pitcher. On the mound, he has been called upon 19 times out of the Sooner bullpen and is 3-0 with a 2.59 earned run average to go with 22 strikeouts in 24.1 innings of work. Fellow right-hander reliever, Krittenbrink has appeared on the mound 20 times for 29.2 innings, while pitching sparingly in his first three seasons. He is a finance major and has totaled 29 strikeouts in his final season at Oklahoma. Neal, a back-up catcher and multidisciplinary studies major, played in 73 games over his three-year career with 17 runs batted in.
Alspaugh, a chemical biosciences major and outfielder, has started 43 games this season as the Sooners’ primary right fielder. He is hitting .250 with 25 runs scored and 23 driven in. Tasin is a human relations major and right-handed pitcher. Used as a mid-week starter and weekend reliever, he is 4-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 20 games, including five starts, spanning 51.2 innings, while striking out 45.
James, who was named to the Olson Award Watch List earlier this week, is a health and exercise science major in the classroom and the ultimate utility man on the diamond. He is among the league leaders in batting at .347 with 39 RBI and 30 runs, while starting at five different positions, but mostly at catcher or first base. Evans is a management major and left-handed pitcher. He has juggled his season between starting and relieving and is 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. Haley majors in human relations and plays the outfield. He has started 49 games, primarily in left field, and leads OU with 41 runs scored on a .303 average with 30 RBI and six home runs.