Bill Byrne
Director of Athletics

I’m excited we won the Big 12 Championship in men’s golf for the first time Sunday. Over the years, Aggie men’s golf has won 11 conference championships, but this was our first in the Big 12 and first since the Southwest Conference days in 1987.

In 2009, Coach JT Higgins led our team to a national championship. Sunday at Whispering Pines in Trinity, we captured the Big 12 title in our final year in the league. I’m proud of the way our student-athletes competed and represented us.

Speaking of Big 12 titles, the men’s golf trophy brings our total to five championships this athletic year. Since the start of the 2006-07 season, our coaches and student-athletes have won 37 team Big 12 Championships. No other Big 12 school has won more team championships during that span than Texas A&M.

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We had some ups and downs on the diamonds over the weekend, but it is the end of season and we are playing some of the most difficult games on our schedules.

Our No. 9 baseball team took two of three from our friends in the state capital. We won game one on Friday in front of an Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park record crowd of 6,944, before winning in the state capital on Saturday, 12-4. Despite a terrific pitching performance on Sunday, we were outscored 2-1. In fact, we had terrific pitching all series long. Starters Michael Wacha, Ross Stripling, and Rafael Pineda are giving us quality outings and helping put us in a position to win each night.

Last night, we beat No. 21 Sam Houston in Huntsville by the score of 10-0. We received another terrific pitching performance from a starter. Right-hander Daniel Mengden threw seven shutout innings, allowing just six hits and walking none while recording four strikeouts.

Beginning Friday, we host Texas Tech for three games at Blue Bell Park. It will be the final Big 12 series of the season we will host. Also, this weekend is our final Big 12 softball series in Aggieland as Kansas comes to town. On Sunday, we are offering a special ticket package which will allow fans to attend each game for $12 total. Since we are sold out of reserved tickets for the entire baseball series, this is the only option to purchase a ticket in advance. Click here for more details.

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While we welcomed the largest crowd to date at Blue Bell Park last Friday night, we received a surprise food service inspection from the Brazos County Health Department. I’m proud to report we received a 92 out of a possible 100. Our staff told me they were disappointed we did not receive a perfect score of 100. They said, “We aim for better.”

 

Friday was game number 33 in our new ballpark. It was our first inspection since just before the ballpark opened when we received our food service permit. Needless to say, when the inspector showed up during our absolutely busiest day of the season, we were ready. Unfortunately, the inspection slowed down our service lines and had an impact on the quality of our service.

At the end of the day, the inspection went terrific and that’s a credit to our Concessions Director Pat Marek and his staff, along with the more than 50 volunteers who staff our concession stands at Blue Bell Park.

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Our No. 16 softball team beat our No. 7 friends from the state capital on our field last Thursday with a 9-0 run-rule finish. On Saturday, we held a 6-1 lead before being outscored 7-6. Sunday was another close game, but we were outscored 4-3.

Beginning Friday, we host Kansas for three games. Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s game will start at 3 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday at 11 a.m. It will mark the final regular season home game for our seniors.

You can purchase tickets in advance by clicking here.

Congratulations to Nicole Morgan for being selected as the Big 12 Player of the Week after going 5-for-8 at the plate in a pair of run-rule wins for us last week.

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We hosted the Big 12 Tennis Championships last weekend. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped us have a home court advantage.

Our men’s team opened the tournament with a win over our No. 18 friends from the state capital. We were outscored in the semifinals by eventual champion No. 12 Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, our No. 19 women beat Kansas State in the quarterfinals before beating six-time defending champion No. 12 Baylor in a marathon match. Nazari Urbina won the last singles match standing in three sets to clinch the win for us.

The next day, we battled our No. 13 friends from the state capital, but fell short.

Yesterday, we learned our men and women will be on the road for the NCAA First and Second Rounds next weekend. Our women will travel to Michigan and face LSU in the first round, while our men will travel to Los Angeles and face South Carolina in the first round.

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Congratulations to junior Mary Michael Maggio for winning the individual title at the Big 12 Women’s Golf Championship Sunday in Lawrence. She shot the low round of the day on Sunday with a 69 while carding three birdies. Our team finished sixth.

Our No. 11 team has been selected to play in the NCAA East Regional next weekend at the Penn State Blue Course in State College, Pa. The top eight teams and two individuals advance from each regional to the NCAA Championship being held May 22-25 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

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Our three-time defending national champion men’s and women’s track and field teams were at the Penn Relay Carnival over the weekend and faced some great competition. We won the women’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.

It was the fourth straight year for us to win the 4 x 100. The winning A&M sprint relay quartet included LaKeidra Stewart, Olivia Ekponé, Dominique Duncan and Ashley Collier.

We wrapped the Penn Relays with the 4 x 400 win. It was our first victory in that event. Kanika Beckles led off for us with a 54.6 and Ibukun Mayungbe followed with a 53.7 split. Donique' Flemings then ran a 53.3 that kept us in front. Then, freshman Olivia Ekponé anchored us to the historic win with a split of 51.9 seconds.

We finished second in both 4 x 200 relays. Our men were also third in the 4 x 400, fourth in the 4 x 100, fifth in the 4 x 800, and seventh in the 4 x Mile.

It was the final scheduled meet before we compete in the Big 12 Championships on May 11.

In the latest rankings, our men have moved to No. 2 nationally, while our women are No. 6.

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Thank you to everyone that attended the Maroon and White Spring Football Game presented by Wells Fargo last Saturday at Kyle Field. Our attendance was approximately 15,000.

The White (offense) beat the Maroon (defense) 48-44. Ryan Swope caught a pair of long touchdown passes. Quarterback Johnny Manziel connected with Swope on a 63-yard touchdown. Later, quarterback Jameill Showers found Ryan for a 50-yard pass.

Running back Ben Malena rushed for 117 yards on 11 carries for one touchdown to lead our running game.

Steven Jenkins led the defense with nine tackles and Donnie Baggs had eight tackles.

It looks like we are going to have a potent offense, but we might have some challenges on defense which are fixable. We had a great recruiting class in February, and we expect several of the new guys to contribute immediately.

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We are looking forward to a day-long meeting with the SEC staff on campus this Monday. There are several administrative and compliance differences between our current conference and the SEC.

One of the big differences between the Big 12 and the SEC is how they educate new coaches and administrators about the league rules. Seven of the SEC staff will be here for a seminar with our staff and coaches to answer their questions and inform them on SEC operations, rules, and procedures. This seminar is required of any new coach who joins the SEC. Usually the coach must travel to the SEC office in Birmingham for the seminar before they are permitted to recruit.

Meeting in Aggieland will be a good experience for us and I hope for them. We will share with them how we do things, and they will share with our staff specific SEC compliance issues, NCAA legislation concerns, updates to SEC game management guidelines, and general recruiting. Plus, they have offered to open the floor to topical discussions on a variety of things.

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Gig’Em!