May 24, 2023

⚾ Shojinaga named Big 12 Freshman of the Year; Five Jayhawks receive conference honors

Posted May 24, 2023 11:46 AM
Via KU Sports
Via KU Sports

IRVING, Texas – True freshman Kodey Shojinaga was named Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year, the first in program history to receive the accolade, while five Jayhawks received conference honors Wednesday as announced by the league. Janson Reeder was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team, while Collin Baumgartner, Cole Elvis, Chase Jans and Shojinaga were voted to the All-Big 12 Second Team. Shojinaga also was an unanimous selection for the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
“I’m super proud of all the guys,” Head Coach Dan Fitzgerald said. They have been bought in since our first team meeting last August. They all trusted the process and stayed focused on the important things. They are a special group of Jayhawks.”
Shojinaga highlighted the conference awards for the Jayhawks by being recognized as the Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year, a member of the All-Big 12 Second Team and getting selected unanimously to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. He shared Freshman of the Year honors with Oklahoma State’s Nolan Schubart.
Shojinaga, originally recruited as a catcher and converted to an infielder, has been the most consistent hitter for Kansas in 2023. He is currently seventh in the nation amongst true freshman with a team-best .380 batting average this season, which ranks second in the conference. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native also posted a .418 average and 41 hits in conference games, which were both a league best. He led the team in hits (70), multi-hit games (19), on-base percentage (.424) and OPS (.962) as well.
“Kodey has worked hard and played at a very high level since day one on campus,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s a winner in every way – a 4.0 student, a great teammate, and an elite worker. His success is not surprising, and I could not be more proud of Kodey.”
Reeder earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team as a designated hitter. The junior transfer from Cowley Community College made his transition to Division I this season and led the Jayhawks in doubles and slugging percentage. He also was tied for the most extra-base hits on the roster and hit 11 home runs, the second most on the team. He recorded 15 multi-hit games and had 11 multi-RBI contests. Reeder posted a .614 slugging percentage in Big 12 play this season.
Baumgartner, a sixth-year graduate transfer from SIU-Edwardsville, seized his opportunity to move up to the Power Five level and was rewarded with a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team. Baumgartner spent his first five years alongside current Kansas pitching coach Brandon Scott. The Brighton, Illinois, native was the Friday starter for Kansas all season and went 5-1 with a 3.79 ERA. He allowed three runs or less in 10 of his 14 starts and led the team in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and strikeout to walk ratio. His 73.2 innings pitched ranked fifth in the conference.
Elvis, a senior transfer from Cal, was awarded a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team as an infielder. Elvis was the only Kansas player to start every game this season and played two-thirds of those games at first base. He led the team with 14 home runs, 51 RBIs and 118 total bases. Ten of his 14 home runs this season have come in the sixth inning or later. Elvis hit a home run in four consecutive games from April 19-23, which made him the first Jayhawk to do so since at least 1993. The Vacaville, California, native hit 10 home runs in conference play, which was tied for the most in the Big 12. His 32 RBIs and 67 total bases in Big 12 play were both the most in conference games this season. Defensively, Elvis committed only four errors in 447 chances for a .991 fielding percentage.
Jans, one of 10 returners from the 2022 roster, made a huge jump that landed him on the All-Big 12 Second Team. Jans was second on the team in slugging percentage, hits and RBIs. This season, Jans has hit 10 home runs compared to three in 2022. On April 16, he tied the program record of nine RBIs set in 1993 after going 5-for-7 with a double, grand slam, and four runs scored. The sophomore from Overland Park, Kansas, made some highlight-reel catches on defense this season, two of which ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.
All five players who received conference honors were developed over the last year under Fitzgerald, who is in his first year as head coach at Kansas, along with his assembled coaching staff of Scott, Tyler Hancock and Jon Coyne.
“My staff did a great job with these guys,” Fitzgerald said. “We built a good foundation and map for them to follow - but ultimately - all the credit goes to the players. They are the ones who actually have to do it, and those guys have really done it at a high level all year.”
Kansas (24-30, 8-16 Big 12) begins the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship against No. 13 Texas on Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. CT at Globe Life Field. The Jayhawks are making their first appearance in the tournament since 2021 and are seeking their first victory in the double-elimination tournament since 2019.
INF Kodey Shojinaga, Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year, All-Big 12 Second Team, Big 12 All-Freshman Team
Overall: .380/.424/.538, 11 2B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 40 R, 15 BB, 99 TB in 50 games (43 starts)
Big 12: .418/.462/.500, 8 2B, 10 RBI, 20 R, 8 BB, 49 TB in 24 games (23 starts)
DH Janson Reeder, All-Big 12 First Team
Overall: .278/.374/.561, 16 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 34 R, 21 BB, 105 TB in 51 games (49 starts)
Conference: .295/.366/.614, 8 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 10 R, 6 BB, 54 TB in 23 games (22 starts)
RHP Collin Baumgartner, All-Big 12 Second Team
Overall: 5-1, 3.79 ERA, 14 G, 14 GS, 73.2 IP, 21 BB, 69 SO in 14 starts
Big 12: 3-1, 4.69 ERA, 8 G, 8 GS, 40.1 IP, 13 BB, 39 SO in eight starts
INF Cole Elvis, All-Big 12 Second Team
Overall: .275/.324/.532, 15 2B, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 36 R, 16 BB, 118 TB in 54 games
Conference: .313/.387/.698, 7 2B, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 21 R, 11 BB, 67 TB in 24 starts
OF Chase Jans, All-Big 12 Second Team
Overall: .320/.390/.548, 13 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 36 R, 22 BB, 108 TB in 50 games (47 starts)
Conference: .304/.359/.511, 4 3B, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 18 R, 9 BB, 47 TB in 22 games (21 starts)

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