Kyle Gray Among Nine Mountaineers To Earn All-Big 12 Baseball Honors
The Big 12 Baseball championships start on Wednesday, but the league announced its all-star teams on Tuesday.
Nine different Mountaineers earned honored, led by junior second baseman Kyle Gray, who was named first-team all-conference.
Gray becomes the sixth Mountaineer in program history to be named to the All-Big 12 first team. In addition junior right fielder Darius Hill was named to the All-Big 12 second team. Freshman third baseman/left fielder Tyler Doanes was named to the all-freshman team and also earned Big 12 honorable mention honors. Junior catcher Ivan Gonzalez, junior left fielder/right-handed pitcher Braden Zarbnisky, sophomore first baseman Marques Inman, sophomore right-handed pitchers Isaiah Kearns and Kade Strowd and sophomore center fielder Brandon White also were earned honor mention notice
WVU had 10 All-Big 12 accolades for the third consecutive season and has had at least one first-team honoree in each of the past three years, the most in team history. The seven honorable mention accolades are tied for the most in program history, while WVU has had an all-freshman team honor in four consecutive years.
“Congratulations to all of our All-Big 12 honorees,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “It’s great to have our players’ accomplishments recognized, and I’m proud of what they’ve achieved. Kyle’s season was especially impressive to watch, and he is well-deserving of First Team accolades.”
Gray was recognized for the second time in his career, after he earned honorable mention accolades in 2017. Hill also was named Big 12 honorable mention last season and was named to the all-freshman team in 2016. Gonzalez also is being honored for the third time in his career, after he was on the honorable mention the past two seasons. Zarbnisky was named to the first team, and White the honorable mention team, in 2017. Doanes and Inman both earned their first career All-Big 12 accolades.
Gray’s 2018 season was highlighted by a 23-game hit streak, the longest by a Mountaineer since 2009, and 14 home runs, tied for sixth-most in a single season in program history. In Big 12 play, Gray led the conference with a .391 batting average, was second with 66 total bases and a .759 slugging percentage, third with eight home runs, fourth with 34 hits and a .460 on-base percentage and seventh with 24 runs scored.
On the season, Gray is second in the Big 12 with a .685 slugging percentage, third with a .364 batting average and 14 home runs, fifth with 126 total bases, sixth with a .452 on-base percentage and ninth with 67 hits. Gray’s .685 slugging percentage ranks No. 10 in program history.
Hill led the team and was No. 7 in the Big 12 with 71 hits, while he hit 19 doubles, third-most in the league. In Big 12 play, Hill was second in the conference with 36 hits and sixth with a .364 batting average and nine doubles.
Doanes is second on the team with a .406 on-base percentage, third with a .330 batting average and fourth with a .511 slugging percentage. He has 29 hits in 88 at-bats with a team-best four triples. Doanes has five doubles, an inside-the-park home run and 17 RBIs to go along with five stolen bases in six attempts.
Gonzalez hit .259 with 48 hits, 22 RBIs, 24 runs scored and one home run. He was tied for third on the team with 11 doubles and added 16 walks. Gonzalez started 48 of WVU’s 52 games, with all but nine coming behind the plate.
Inman is 10th in the Big 12 with a .333 batting average and third with 19 doubles. His 33 hits in Big 12 play rank eighth, and his 10 doubles are third. Inman led the team with 38 RBIs in 2018 and added 58 hits, six home runs, a .557 batting average and 18 walks. Inman added a team-high-tying four game-winning RBIs.
Kearns posted a 3-3 record on the mound while making 10 starts. He struck out 48 batters in 41.1 innings pitched and posted a 4.35 ERA. At the plate, Kearns had 16 hits in 59 at-bats with five RBIs and added five walks with a .271 batting average.
Strowd tied for the team lead with 12 starts and struck out a team-best 56 batters in 59.0 innings. He posted a 4-6 record with a 5.34 ERA, tying for the team lead with four wins.
While starting every game in center field and making numerous spectacular catches, White hit .276 with 51 hits, 19 RBIs and 30 walks. He registered six doubles, two triples and a home run. White was sixth in the Big 12 with 19 stolen bases.
Zarbnisky tied for third in the Big 12 with 25 stolen bases and 40 walks. He hit .246 with 41 hits, four doubles and 19 RBIs. On the mound, Zarbnisky made 14 appearances with four starts. He had 33 strikeouts in 35.1 innings with a 4.84 ERA. Zarbnisky posted a 2-3 record with one save.
The Mountaineers begin postseason play at the Big 12 Championship, from May 23-27, in Oklahoma City. WVU opens play against second-seeded Oklahoma State on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.