WACO, Texas – The Baylor softball team saw five Lady Bears earn six total Big 12 postseason honors, announced Tuesday afternoon by the conference office.
Baylor paced the league with a conference-best four first team selections, adding a second team and an All Freshman honor to round out the team’s six nods.
Seniors Heather Stearns, Sarah Smith, and Linsey Hays all earned first team selections, along with freshman Kyla Walker.
Stearns finished the season with a 19-6 record and a 1.91 ERA, leading the Big 12 in strikeouts/game and saves. Smith posted career-high offensive numbers in virtually every category, launching 10 home runs and driving in 47 RBI, positioned to leave with more than her fair share of Baylor records.
Hays, who has already broken the Baylor career doubles record, launched a team-best 13 home runs and drilled 19 doubles, second and third in the Big 12, respectively. Walker double-dipped for an All Freshman selection, having led the conference in batting average and hits in conference play with 29 hits and a .518 clip.
Shelby Friudenberg picked up a second team honor, the second All-Big 12 recognition in her already impressive collegiate career. Following up her All-American freshman season, Friudenberg finished with 11 home runs and 41 RBI, both among the top-five in the conference.
Overall stats were not ignored as Big 12 head coaches voted for the postseason awards, but league stats were the emphasis.
Oklahoma State’s Vanessa Shippy and Oklahoma’s Erin Miller were voted Big 12 Player of the Year co-winners. The Sooners swept the remaining four overall conference honors, including Paige Parker for Pitcher of the Year, Shay Knighten for Freshman of the Year, Kelsey Arnold for Defensive Player of the Year, and Patty Gasso for Coach of the Year.
Baylor will begin its postseason run in Eugene, Ore., facing Long Beach State to kick off the Eugene Regional on Friday at 7:00 p.m. CT in a double elimination tournament featuring Long Beach State, Fordham, and the No. 5-seed Oregon Ducks. The winner of the weekend regional will advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.