IRVING, Texas – Seven K-State baseball players received All-Big 12 Conference recognition Tuesday as the conference unveiled the 2023 All-Big 12 Baseball Awards.
Sophomore Tyson Neighbors was voted First Team All-Big 12 while senior Owen Boerema earned Second Team honors. Additionally, Nick Goodwin, Brady Day, Raphael Pelletier, Kaelen Culpepper, and Brendan Jones received honorable mention accolades.
Neighbors, a sophomore from Royse City, Texas, receives All-Big 12 accolades for the first time in his career as he leads the Big 12 in saves (10) while ranking sixth in strikeouts (78). The right-hander was ranked as the nation's No. 1 reliever by D1Baseball.com and boasts a team-low 2.01 ERA, picking up a decision in 16 of his 24 appearances with a 5-1 record.
Neighbors is the first Wildcat to earn First Team honors since Jordan Wicks, who became the program's first-ever first-round draft pick in 2021 after he was selected 21st overall by the Chicago Cubs. Neighbors was invited to the 2023 USA Baseball National Collegiate Team Training Camp and will compete for an opportunity to represent the United States in a series against Chinese Taipei and Japan this July.
In his first season as a Wildcat, Boerema collected Big 12 accolades as the senior is the fourth player to earn Second Team honors under Pete Hughes. Boerema, a senior from Litchfield, Minn., ranks third in the league with 90 total strikeouts which ties sixth in the program's single-season records.
The left-handed starter is 7-1 on the hill and is one of six pitchers to strikeout out 12-plus batters in a single appearance after he fanned 12 in the series opener against Texas.
Goodwin, a Brooks Wallace Award Semifinalist, earns honorable mention honors for the second consecutive season as the junior leads the league and ranks fourth in Division I in sacrifice flies. The Overland Park., Kan., product has put together a slash line of .285/.393/.517 to go with a career-high 53 runs batted in. Goodwin has sent out 12 home runs this season, bringing his career total to 33 to rank fourth all-time.
A year after hitting .284., Day has had an explosive season slashing .354/.489/.459 with eight doubles, one triple and three home runs. Day leads the Wildcats during Big 12 action with his .391 average that ranks ninth in the league. A native of Hampstead, N.H., he has generated a team-high 18 multi-hit games and has reached base in 35 consecutive contests. Day is also the third toughest player in the league to strikeout, striking out just 20 times in 181 at-bats (9.0 at-bats per strikeout).
Pelletier, a member of the Buster Posey Catcher of the Year Watch List, received honorable mention honors as Quebec, Canada product has gunned down a league-high 16 runners this season for a .590 stolen bases allowed percentage. Pelletier has caught 49 games this season while producing five doubles and five home runs to go with 26 RBI and 28 runs.
Culpepper, an all-freshman team selection a season ago, enters the Big 12 Championship with a slash line of .311/.418/.570 that includes eight doubles and career-high nine home runs with 36 RBI. A product of Memphis, Tenn., Culpepper has produced 13 multi-hit games since returning to the field from his pre-conference injury.
Jones, a product of Greenbrier, Tenn., is one of just five players in the league to field a perfect 1.000 as the sophomore has started in all 55 games in centerfield with 113 putouts and two assists. He is hitting .239 with 11 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 30 RBI. He's scored a team-high 50 runs and ranks second in the Big 12 with 26 stolen bases on the year which ranks seventh in the Cats' single-season records.
The 2023 All-Big 12 Baseball Teams were selected by a vote of the league's nine head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for themselves of their own players.
K-State enters the 2023 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship as the No. 5 seed and will face fourth-seeded TCU on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Wednesday's contest between the Wildcats and Horned Frogs will be broadcast on ESPNU and the ESPN app. Radio coverage for the tournament will be available on the K-State Sports Radio Network with free audio streaming at kstatesports.com/watch.