May 20, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY - Baylor baseball had a trio of players earn All-Big 12 honors for the first time, the league announced Tuesday. Record-setting closer Josh Michalec earned a first team nod, outfielder Adam Toth was an honorable mention and left-handed pitcher Daniel Castano was an All-Freshman Team choice.
The triumvirate gave the Bears multiple all-league selections in all 18 years as a league member. During the Big 12 era, BU has 113 all-league honorees under head coach Steve Smith.
Michalec took over as closer for the first time in his career to start the season, earned saves in his first 11 tries, and went on to crush the Baylor single-season record (15 by Zane Carlson in 2000) and tie the Big 12 single-season record (20 by Oklahoma's Jeff Bajenaru in 2000). He is 20-for-21 in save opportunities this season, leads the league and ranks second in the country in saves. He's closed out 20 of BU's 24 wins with 10 of the saves coming in multi-inning efforts. Overall, he is 0-4 with a 2.68 ERA in a career-high 28 appearances covering 37 innings. He's given up 14 runs (11 earned) on 27 hits and 16 walks with 25 strikeouts while holding opponents to a career-low .206 batting average.
Toth is hitting a career-high .303 and has career highs of 32 runs, 61 hits, four triples, three homers, 23 RBI, .423 slugging percentage, .343 on-base percentage and 1.000 fielding percentage in 107 chances. He leads the team in average, slugging percentage, runs, hits, triples, total bases and steals. In the Big 12, he is fourth in triples and 10th in steals. In the NCAA, he ranks 71st in triples.
Castano has stepped up from the team's main midweek starter to filling in as a weekend rotation member due to injuries, and has performed very well. Overall, he is 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 18 appearances and nine starts. He's allowed 32 runs (25 earned) on 64 hits and 18 walks with 34 strikeouts in 62 innings while holding opponents to a .267 batting average. He is just the fifth Baylor player to earn the all-freshman honor as he joins Michael Griffin (2002), Michael Howard (2012), Ryan Smith (2012) and Toth (2012).
The No. 7 seed Bears (24-29) take on No. 2 seed TCU (38-15) tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CT on FOX College Sports at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in the opening round of the 2014 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.