Sheldon Neuse Having Banner Junior Season in Sooner Baseball


Hitting, pitching, fielding: The three most critical elements of a winning baseball team. Oklahoma has all three wrapped up in a single player in junior Sheldon Neuse.

Neuse, an All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2015, has done it all for the Sooners this season.

The starting shortstop and part-time pitcher is hitting a healthy .371 through all games, third best in the Big 12, and is in the top 10 in the league in hits (49), home runs (6), stolen bases (9), walks (27) and on-base percentage (.475).

In addition, Neuse is second in the Big 12 in total bases (86), which includes nine doubles, five triples (which leads the Big 12 and tied for ninth-best among Division 1 players) and six home runs. His .652 slugging percentage ranks second in the conference. Sixty-eight percent of his 49 hits this season have been for extra bases.

A Texas native from the Ft. Worth side of the DFW metroplex, Neuse elected to go north of the Red River to play his college baseball, and you can bet that all of the Texas schools – and hometown TCU, especially – are sorry that the All-Big 12 performer got away and ended up at Oklahoma.

In the field, the Sooner shortstop has committed just two errors in 161 fielding chances for a fielding percentage of .988, and is a big reason why Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in fielding.

Not only has Sooners’ team leader gotten it done at the plate and in the field, he also has come through this season on the pitching mound.

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In an OU win earlier this month over Texas, Neuse gave the Sooners the early lead with a towering home run off the scoreboard in left-center at L. Dale Mitchell Park in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the eighth inning, he took over on the mound with two runners on base and one out. He retired the next two Texas batters, leaving two Longhorns stranded, and then hurled a one-two-three top of the ninth to secure the win.

Neuse has made 11 pitching appearances in 2016 and has a 3-1 record and four saves. In 17 innings of work on the mound, he has struck out 17, delivered five bases on balls and has a highly respectable 1.59 ERA.

He may not be the Player of the Year this season in the Big 12, but there is no question that Sheldon Neuse is the most versatile, if not the most valuable, player on the 2016 Sooner baseball roster.