Big 12 strikeouts leader Donato nabs all-league honor

Junior right-hander Chad Donato averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings this season for West Virginia.


IRVING, Texas — West Virginia right-hander Chad Donato, who topped the conference in strikeouts, earned first-team All-Big 12 honors Tuesday in a vote of coaches

It’s sweet validation for Donato, who received only faint interest from the major in-state programs after a promising high school career in Cypress, Texas.

Donato had a 3-4 record and a 3.34 ERA as West Virginia’s No. 1 starter this season, leading the Big 12 in strikeouts (110), strikeouts per nine innings (10.42). Entering this week’s conference tournament, he ranks second in innings (95) during which he allowed only 85 hits and 20 walks while holding batters to a .235 average.

Texas Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez was chosen Big 12 player of the year and Tim Tadlock was the unanimous coach of the year after guiding the Red Raiders to the regular-season title by three games. Oklahoma State’s Thomas Hatch is the pitcher of the year.

West Virginia first baseman Jackson Cramer and outfielder Darius Hill were all-league second-teamers. Cramer batted .303 and led the Mountaineers with eight homers, 41 RBIs. Hill’s 19 doubles led the league while he ranked among the top five in batting (.348), hits (71) and runs (46).

Catcher Ivan Vera, who hit .407 but did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the conference rankings, also joined the all-freshman team.

Check out the complete rundown of the Big 12’s baseball awards.

The double-elimination league tournament opens Wednesday in Oklahoma City with fourth-seeded West Virginia (33-21) facing No. 5 seed Oklahoma (28-25-1) at 10 a.m. Eastern

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