The Kansas State baseball team saw the benefits of winning a Big 12 Championship on Tuesday, sweeping the league’s top two awards.
Coach Brad Hill earned his second honor as Big 12 Coach of the Year and Ross Kivett was named Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. The Wildcats took home two other major wards, as pitcher Jake Matthys was named Freshman of the Year and outfielder Jared King was named Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Along with Kivett, King and Matthys, the Wildcats placed four others on the All-Big 12 First Team. Catcher Blair DeBord, first baseman Shane Conlon, shortstop Austin Fisher and outfielder/pitcher Tanner Witt each received first-team recognition.
Outfielder Jon Davis earned honorable mention honors, while Matthys and Levi MaVorhis were named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
It’s the most players K-State has ever put on the All-Big 12 team (seven) as the previous high was three. The seven selections tied the Big 12 record set by Baylor last season. K-State’s jump from seventh in the preseason poll, to first in the final standings was also the biggest move by a school in Big 12 history.
Hill’s selection as coach of the year made K-State the first school in Big 12 history to have it’s football, basketball and baseball coaches all earn the honor in the same academic year. K-State was just the second team to win a conference championship in all three sports.
Hill, who was coach of the year in 2009, took the Wildcats to a 39-16 record and their first conference championship in 80 years this season. The 39 wins tied the school regular-season record, while the 16-7 conference mark set a school record.
Kivett is the third Wildcat to earn Big 12 Player of the Year, joining Craig Wilson (1992) and Nick Martini (2010). The K-State second baseman hit .359 this season, and .376 against Big 12 opponents.
Kivett ranks second in hits (80) and steals (26), third in runs scored (46), fourth in triples (4), fifth in total bases (103) and sixth in on-base percentage (.434).
Matthys is the first K-State player to earn recognition as the top freshman. Matthys was 8-0 this season with a 2.01 ERA and six saves in 28 appearances. His eight wins are tied for first in the Big 12 this season.
King is hitting .342 with 14 doubles, six home runs and a team-leading 46 RBIs as he shared the league’s first-ever scholar athlete award for baseball.
Witt earned his second All-Big 12 honor, while DeBord, Conlon and Fisher each received their first.