It's college basketball season and also the time of year for college football's All-America team selections. Not too be outdone, college baseball is getting into the act as well, coming out with its preseason All-America selections, and five baseball players from the Big 12 are among those named to the national watch list.
Outfielder Tyler Naquin and pitcher Ross Stripling of Texas A&M, pitcher Corey Knebel of Texas have been named to the National College Baseball Writers Preseason All-America first team. Pitcher John Neely of Texas Tech was named to the second team and infielder Erich Weiss of Texas was selected as a third-team preseason honoree.
Naquin, a junior, was Big 12 Player of the Year last season and led the conference in four offensive categories: batting average (.381), hits (104), total bases (147) and runs scored (68). Stripling tied nationally in 2011 in wins with 14 and helped lead Texas A&M to their first College World Series appearance since 1999. The right-handed starter was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season as a junior. Knebel, a relief pitcher, set the Texas freshman record for saves last spring with 19 and a 1.13 earned-run average. Knebel also was the National College Baseball Writers Association's Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Stopper of the Year.
Neely made 30 relief appearances in his junior year at Texas Tech and recorded nine wins against one loss in 60.2 innings pitched. Weiss was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year as a position player. The Texas third baseman led the conference in on-base percentage (.483) and walks (53).
The 2012 baseball season in the Big 12 begins Feb. 17. Conference play opens a month later.
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