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Baylor Baseball Coach Rodriguez Named Big 12 Coach of the Year

WACO, TX (KXXV) -

Baylor baseball garnered a league-high 15 end-of-season Big 12 Conference honors, including Steve Rodriguez being named Big 12 Coach of the Year and Montana Parsons earning Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. BU also landed a co-league-high 13 players on the All-Big 12 teams (West Virginia also had 13).

Rodriguez earned the Big 12 Coach of the Year honor for the first time in just his second season with Baylor. He is the third BU coach to win a conference coach of the year accolade and gives the Bears their 11th coach of the year honor (Mickey Sullivan, 1977-78, 1985, 1988, 1991; Steve Smith, 1998-00, 2005, 2012). Rodriguez is the second coach to win the Big 12 award and gives BU its third accolade directly from the conference (Steve Smith, 2000, 2012). The honor marks the third time Rodriguez has been named a conference coach of the year (West Coast Conference, 2012, 2014).

In his second season, Rodriguez has guided Baylor to 34 wins for the first time since 2012, 12 conference wins for the first time since 2013 and its highest finish (fifth) in league play since 2013. He also led the Bears to a program-record-tying 15-2 start to the season and had the team ranked No. 10 in the country. Additionally, BU has six pitching shutouts for the first time since 2000, hit 49 home runs for the first time since 2010 (57), qualified for the Big 12 Championship for a league-high-tying 21st straight season and led the league with 15 Academic All-Big 12 choices.

JUCO junior RHP Parsons gave Baylor its third conference newcomer of the year award (P Tim Peters, Southwest Conference, 1995; DH Nathan Orf, Big 12 Conference, 2012). Parsons did not miss a start in the regular season, and in his 13 starts posted a 2.68 ERA with a 5-2 record while giving up 27 runs on 75 hits and 34 walks with 62 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. Overall, he ranked fourth in the Big 12 in ERA and innings pitched and tied for 11th in wins. In Big 12 play, he ranked tied for second in wins (4), fourth in innings pitched (47.2), fifth in ERA (2.64) and eighth in strikeouts (38).

BU also had senior infielder Aaron Dodson (first team), junior reliever Troy Montemayor (first team), freshman catcher Shea Langeliers (second team, Big 12 All-Freshman Team), senior designated hitter Matt Menard (second team), Parsons (second team), junior infielder Tucker Cascadden (honorable mention), sophomore outfielder Richard Cunningham (honorable mention), junior outfielder Kameron Esthay (honorable mention), senior starter Nick Lewis (honorable mention), sophomore outfielder T.J. Raguse (honorable mention) and freshman infielder/outfielder Davis Wendzel (honorable mention, Big 12 All-Freshman Team) earn All-Big 12 honors. The 11 All-Big 12 selections are the most for the Bears since doing the same in 2012, giving Baylor at least two all-league players in all 21 seasons of the league’s existence and 10 or more honorees for the third time (2003 (10), 2012 (11)).  The two all-freshman nods are the most since having three in 2012 and BU has now had at least one freshman honored in four of the last six seasons.

Dodson has career-highs with a .341 batting average, 35 runs, 60 hits, 10 home runs and 38 RBI. He is BU’s first player with 10 or more homers in a season since Josh Ludy hit 16 in 2012. Montemayor was also a first-team member last season, and has a career-low-tying 0.78 ERA, career-high three wins and 27 strikeouts with 12 saves (17th in NCAA, third in Big 12). He’s just the second BU player to record two seasons with 10 or more saves (Zane Carlson, 2000 (15), 2003 (11)) after having 14 in 2016. Langeliers is hitting .321 with 42 runs, 63 hits, 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 38 RBI. He has hit the most homers by a BU freshman catcher in program history and is one shy of tying the all-time BU freshman record. Menard was an honorable mention last season and has career highs in batting average (.311), runs (33), hits (61), RBI (26) and walks (17).

Cascadden is hitting .268 with 23 runs, 42 hits, 11 doubles, one homer and 31 RBI. Cunningham has career highs in batting average (.303), doubles (13), homers (5) and RBI (28). Esthay was a second team choice in 2015 and all-freshman member in 2014 and has career highs in runs (39), triples (2), homers (9), RBI (34) and walks (28). Lewis has career highs in wins (6), innings pitched (68.1) and strikeouts (57). Raguse has career highs in runs (25), hits (44), homers (1), RBI (23) and walks (31). Wendzel is hitting .302 with 34 runs, 42 hits, six doubles, two triples, eight homers, 29 RBI and 29 walks.

No. 5 seed Baylor plays No. 4 seed West Virginia at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday to open play at the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

BAYLOR 2017 BIG 12 HONORS

Big 12 Coach of the Year

Steve Rodriguez

Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year

RHP Montana Parsons / DH Brylie Ware (Oklahoma)

All-Big 12 First Team

INF Aaron Dodson

RHP Troy Montemayor

All-Big 12 Second Team

C Shea Langeliers

DH Matt Menard

RHP Montana Parsons

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

INF Tucker Cascadden

OF Richard Cunningham

OF Kameron Esthay

RHP Nick Lewis

OF T.J. Raguse

INF/OF Davis Wendzel

Big 12 All-Freshman Team

C Shea Langeliers (unanimous)

INF/OF Davis Wendzel

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