TCU

TCU’s Baker named Big 12 freshman of the year

TCU designated hitter Luken Baker steps into the box in a May 17 game against Stephen F. Austin. He was named the Big 12 freshman of the year Tuesday in voting by the league coaches. He was also was a first-team selection at DH and utility, the first player to be so honored by the league in multiple positions in one year.
TCU designated hitter Luken Baker steps into the box in a May 17 game against Stephen F. Austin. He was named the Big 12 freshman of the year Tuesday in voting by the league coaches. He was also was a first-team selection at DH and utility, the first player to be so honored by the league in multiple positions in one year. Special to the Star-Telegram

TCU designated hitter Luken Baker was named the freshman of the year in the Big 12 in voting by the coaches, the league announced Tuesday ahead of the start of the conference tournament.

He is the second TCU player in two years to be named freshman of the year. Connor Wanhanen took the award last season.

Baker was also a unanimous first-team choice at designated hitter and utility player, the first player in league history so honored at multiple positions in the same year, and a unanimous choice on the league’s All-Freshman Team.

Since 2004, TCU has had five conference freshmen of the year: Chad Huffman in 2004 (CUSA), Matt Purke in 2010 (MWC), Preston Morrison in 2012 (MWC), Connor Wanhanen 2015 (Big 12) and Luken Baker (Big 12) in 2016.

The Spring native played in all 52 games, ranking in the top 10 in the league in hitting, walks, runs batted in and on-base percentage. In 10 starts as a pitcher, he was 3-1 with a 1.70 earned run average.

Third baseman Elliott Barzilli, who hit .372, also was a first-team choice for the Horned Frogs.

TCU had four second-team honorees — catcher Evan Skoug, second baseman Cam Warner, center fielder Dane Steinhagen and pitcher Dalton Horton.

In addition to Baker and Horton, relief pitcher Durbin Feltman and left fielder Josh Watson made the All-Freshman Team for TCU.

League champion Texas Tech had the coach of the year, Tim Tadlock, and the player of the year, first baseman Eric Gutierrez.

Oklahoma shortstop Sheldon Neuse, of Keller Fossil Ridge, and Kansas State center fielder Clayton Dalrymple of Coppell, the son of Dallas Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple, also earned first-team honors.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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