LAWRENCE, Kan. – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) announced Monday afternoon that Kansas closer Stephen Villines earned a spot on the Freshman All-America Team.
“It is a tremendous honor to even be considered for an honor like this,” Villines said. “I have to give credit to the whole team for making outstanding plays behind me all year. Personally, these kinds of things are just a dream. I feel extremely blessed to be recognized as part of some of the top freshmen in the nation.”
Villines earned Second-Team All-American recognition as a relief pitcher on the Jayhawks’ staff. In 29 appearances, the side-arm slinger racked up eight saves en route to a 1.50 ERA in 48 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .200 batting average, allowing just eight earned runs while striking out 23 batters.
“I am thrilled for Stephen,” KU head coach Ritch Price said. “He had an absolutely incredible freshman season. Without his contributions on the mound, we would have never finished third in the Big 12 Conference or advanced to the NCAA Tournament.”
Six of Villines’ eight saves came during conference play, where he made 11 appearances on the bump. He allowed just four runs in 15 and two-thirds innings pitched, striking out eight batters. After a stand-out freshman campaign, the hurler trekked North to spend his summer playing in the Northwoods League for the Duluth Huskies.