Texas Hires Women’s Tennis Coach Howard Joffe

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas hired Howard Joffe to as the new women’s tennis coach, poaching from former rival at Texas A&M.

The school announced the hire on Tuesday. Joffe led the Aggies women to NCAA top-10 finishes each of the last three seasons. He replaces Danielle Lund McNamara, who resigned June 3.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Joffe spent four seasons at Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to a national runner-up finish in 2013.

He also was the women’s coach at Maryland from 2010-2011 and Miami of Ohio from 2008-2009.

Josh Hamilton Activated From DL by Rangers, Gallo to Minors

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Josh Hamilton has been activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Texas Rangers, who placed the outfielder in the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Orioles.

Hamilton was sidelined since May 31 with a strained left hamstring. He has played in only seven games this season, batting .273 with two homers and five RBIs.

He was fifth in the lineup and in left field against Baltimore.

Texas made room for Hamilton on the 25-man roster by optioning rookie Joey Gallo to Triple-A Round Rock. Gallo had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco on June 2 and hit .218 with five home runs and 13 RBIs over 25 games in his major league debut.

He ended his stint with a 7-for-47 skid that included 27 strikeouts.

Stars Sign Newly Acquired Goalie Niemi to 3-Year Contract

DALLAS (AP) _ Former Stanley Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi has signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars.

The deal Monday came two days after Dallas acquired Niemi’s contract rights from San Jose for a seventh-round pick during the draft and two days before the goaltender would have become an unrestricted free agent.

Niemi won all 16 postseason games for Chicago in 2010 when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup title. He went to San Jose as a free agent after that season.

Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is the only goalie with more wins than Niemi’s 163 the past five seasons with the Sharks.

The 31-year-old Niemi, who is from Finland, has a 190-100-40 regular-season record with a 2.39 goals against average in his NHL career with Chicago (2008-10) and San Jose (2010-15).

Astros Agree to $5.9 Million Signing Bonus with SS Bregman

HOUSTON (AP) _ The Astros have agreed to a contract with shortstop Alex Bregman, the second overall pick in the amateur draft, that includes a $5.9 million signing bonus.

The deal, announced Thursday, is for well under the $7,420,100 slot value.

Houston received the No. 2 pick as compensation for not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, last year’s top pick. Aiken was taken by Cleveland at No. 17 this year following Tommy John surgery in March.

The 21-year-old Bregman was the offensive leader of an LSU team that advanced to the College World Series. The Golden Spikes Award finalist hit .323 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 49 RBIs for LSU this season and added 38 steals.

Aggie Women’s Basketball to Take on Cal, Ohio State in Las Vegas Tournament

COLLEGE STATION- Texas A&M women’s basketball team will head to Las Vegas, Nevada to take on two of the sport’s power programs this season in the South Point Shootout. The Aggies take on 2013 Final Four participant Cal on Nov. 27 and 22-time NCAA Tournament participant Ohio State on Nov. 28 at the South Point Arena.

The Aggies begin the South Point Shootout on November 27 against Cal, who went 25-10 and reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. The Aggies hold a 2-1 series edge over the Golden Bears, defeating Cal 74-58 in the schools’ most recent meeting during the 2010-11 season.

Texas A&M takes on Ohio State to close the South Point Shootout on November 28, taking on a Buckeye squad that went 24-11 and reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. Texas A&M and Ohio State have never met on the hardwood. This is a projected Top 25 matchup, as ESPN analyst Charlie Creme projects Texas A&M as the No. 17 team for 2015-16 and has Ohio State ranked as No. 13 in his Way-too-early Top 25, published in April.

This trip marks the Aggies first visit to Las Vegas since 2012-13, when A&M went 2-1 in the World Vision Classic. This is the fourth trip to Las Vegas under Gary Blair for the Aggies, who own an 8-4 record all-time in the City of Lights, dating back to 1978.

The Aggies went 23-10 in 2014-15, and made their 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. For the first time in program history, the Aggies return two All-Americans for the 2015-16 season.

These games join the previously-announced Big 12/SEC Challenge game against Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on Dec. 20, 2015 on the Aggies’ 2015-16 schedule.

Texas A&M Scheduled Games For 2015-16

December 20, 2015 – TBA
Big 12/SEC Challenge – Oklahoma City, Okla.
#17 Texas A&M vs. #19 Oklahoma

November 27, 2015 – 2 p.m. CT
South Point Shootout – Las Vegas, Nev.
Cal vs. #17 Texas A&M

November 28, 2015 – 2 p.m. CT
South Point Shootout – Las Vegas, Nev.
#17 Texas A&M vs. #13 Ohio State

Rankings indicative of ESPN analyst Charlie Creme’s Way-too-early Top 25

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

Ellis Declines Option with Dallas

DALLAS (AP) _ Monta Ellis is declining the player option for the final year of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks and will become an unrestricted free agent. Ellis was set to make $8.7 million in the final year of a three-year, $25 million contract. His agent doesn’t rule out a return to the Mavs.

Shamier Little, Shelbi Vaughan Semifinalists for Bowerman Award

NEW ORLEANS – A pair of Texas A&M athletes have been selected as semifinalists for the women’s Bowerman Award, collegiate track and field’s highest individual honor that is awarded by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Aggie junior Shelbi Vaughan and sophomore Shamier Little are among the semifinal list of 10 athletes. This marks the second consecutive year that Vaughan earned a place among the Bowerman semifinalist while Little makes her first ever appearance on a Bowerman list.

Both Little, in the 400 hurdles, and Vaughan, in the discus, successfully defended NCAA Outdoor titles this month in Eugene as they completed the collegiate portion of the season undefeated in their specialty events.

They each became just the fifth athlete in their respective events to defend their national championships since the women’s NCAA meet started in 1982. Little is the first defending champion in the 400 hurdles since 2003-04 (Sheena Johnson, UCLA). Vaughan is the first defending champion in the discus since 1997-2000 when UCLA’s Seilala Sua won four consecutive titles.

Texas A&M joined Kentucky as the only schools to have two athletes among the semifinalist list. The Wildcats, who finished second in team scoring at the NCAA championships with the Aggies placing third, are represented by sprinter Dezerea Bryant and hurdler Kendra Harrison.

The rest of the semifinalist for the women’s Bowerman Award includes Sandi Morris of Arkansas, Georgia’s Keturah Orji, Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin, Oregon’s Jenna Prandini, and Emily Sisson of Providence.

From this group of 10 women, three will be named finalists for The Bowerman Trophy on July 9. The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation.

Aggie senior Deon Lendore won the men’s Bowerman Award in 2014 while Jessica Beard was the first Texas A&M athlete to garner the prestigious honor in 2011. In 2009 Aggie Porscha Lucas was a finalist.

Little lowered her Aggie school record in the 400 hurdles twice this season, and set world leading times for the 2015 season on each occasion. She went undefeated in nine races, which included five finals.

Amid the rain in Starkville, Mississippi, at the SEC Championships, Little produced a winning time of 54.68 that improved the school record of 55.07 she had set in winning the 2014 NCAA title. Little defeated the defending champion in the SEC race as Kentucky senior Harrison finished second in 55.60.

In Eugene, Little paced herself well on the backstretch into a steady headwind as she ran in lane six with Harrison charging to the lead from lane four. Harrison maintained an edge on Little through the 10th hurdle. On the run-in to the finish line a stern challenge by Little had her taking over the lead as she defended her title with an amazing 53.74 clocking. Harrison (54.09) finished runner-up for a second consecutive year.

The effort by Little lowered the world leading time for the season from a 54.15 set by Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer in Olso, Norway, two days prior during a Diamond League meet. On the all-time collegiate list Little and Harrison moved into the number four and five performer spots. It was also the fourth and fifth fastest times recorded in a NCAA final while Little registered the third fastest NCAA winning time.

Little is the first 400m hurdler to claim SEC and NCAA victories in the same season since 2006. She became just the fifth SEC hurdler to achieve the double in the same season.

The previous SEC hurdlers to win NCAA titles in the same season include: Schowanda Williams (LSU, 1988), Debbie Parris (LSU, 1993 & 1994), Ryan Tolbert (Vanderbilt, 1997), and Markita James (Auburn, 2006).

In 2014 Little became the first freshman to capture the NCAA 400 hurdle title since Lashinda Demus of South Carolina in 2002. In winning the 2015 national championship Little is the first sophomore to do so since UCLA’s Nicole Leach in 2007, when sophomores claimed the first three places. The only other sophomores to win a NCAA 400 hurdle title were Janeene Vickers of UCLA in 1989 and Nebraska’s Linetta Wilson in 1987.

Vaughan, undefeated through eight competitions this season, also improved her A&M school record in winning a third SEC discus title with a meet record of 211-8 (64.52). Since establishing the Aggie record in her first competition as a freshman with a mark of 185-0, Vaughan has added 26-plus feet to the A&M school record and moved to fifth on the collegiate all-time list.

As the only discus thrower in the nation to throw over 200 feet this season, Vaughan was the collegiate leader throughout the season. She opened with a 195-2 (59.49) at Arizona State in March and improved to 201-8 (61.48) to claim another Texas Relays title. During the SEC Championships, Vaughan improved her collegiate lead with three efforts over 200 feet in her series – 201-9 (61.49), 205-11 (62.76) and 211-8.

The 211-8 performance also had Vaughan becoming the U.S. leader and moved into the top 10 in the world. Heading into the USATF Championships this week, Vaughan is currently second among U.S. throwers and No. 10 in the world.

In the NCAA competition a couple of weeks ago, the leading mark out of the first flight of throwers was a 191-5 (58.34). The lowest winning distance for Vaughan during the season was 192-7, which she threw twice in wins at the Sun Angel Classic and at TCU.

Throwing in the second flight during the NCAA Championships, Vaughan opened with a 186-3 and then claimed the lead with a 201-5 (61.39) in round two. That claimed the victory as Wisconsin’s Kelsey Card challenged with a 194-10 (59.38) in the fifth round as the runner-up.

A winning mark of 196-11 for the 2014 NCAA title was the eighth best throw in the history of the national championship meet. Vaughan’s winning toss of 201-5 for the 2015 title is the sixth best throw ever at the NCAA Championships and the best winning mark since 2004 when Nebraska’s Becky Breisch won with a 204-5 (62.31).

Last year Vaughan became just the third thrower to win SEC and NCAA discus titles in the same season and her repeat victory at both meets made her just the second thrower to accomplish the feat twice. LSU’s Danyel Mitchell won a pair of SEC and NCAA sweeps in 1993 and 1994 while Alabama’s Beth Mallory won three SEC titles from 2004-06, but only added the NCAA crown in 2005.

THE BOWERMAN AWARD – WOMEN’S SEMIFINALISTS

Dezerea Bryant, Kentucky*

Quanesha Burks, Alabama

Kendra Harrison, Kentucky*

Shamier Little, Texas A&M

Sandi Morris, Arkansas

Keturah Orji, Georgia

Demi Payne, Stephen F. Austin*

Jenna Prandini, Oregon

Emily Sisson, Providence*

Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M

* First women’s Semifinalist(s) for school

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

Good News / Bad News For The Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Josh Phegley homered and had a two-run double as the
Oakland Athletics beat Texas 8-6 in a series opener Tuesday night. Phegley’s
double chased rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez and tied the game at 5 in the sixth.
Phegley scored on Marcus Semien’s RBI single to put the A’s ahead to stay.
Athletics starter Jesse Chavez allowed five runs and eight hits over five
innings.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has been activated
from the disabled list after missing 19 games because of a sprained left thumb.
General manager Jon Daniels says Beltre still feels a little sting when he
swings. Beltre jammed his thumb sliding into a base last month.

Houston Creams L.A.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Luis Valbuena homered twice to power the Houston Astros
to a 13-3 rout of the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. The AL West-leading
Astros have homered in 10 straight games. They lead the majors with 107 home
runs and 31 multihomer games. Collin McHugh pitched a season-high eight innings.

NHL Ups Salary Cap and Drops Numbers in O.T. Play

In an effort to try and reduce the number of games decided by a shootout, the NHL’s general managers opted Tuesday to move next season to a five-minute overtime session with three skaters a side from four. The plan will need the approval of the NHL’s Board of Governors, who will meet Wednesday in Las Vegas in advance of the NHL’s annual awards ceremony but that approval is considered a formality.

The NHL’s salary cap will increase $2.1 million, to $71.4 million for the upcoming season. The NHLPA triggered a 5 percent escalator clause in the collective bargaining agreement to boost the cap, while increasing player escrow payments. Despite the increase, the new cap figure will force several teams to shed payroll in an effort to get under the ceiling.

Virginia Forces a Game 3 in CWS

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Virginia has forced a third and deciding game in the College
World Series finals by blanking defending champion Vanderbilt 3-0. Thomas
Woodruff hit a two-run single in a three-run sixth to help Josh Sborz pick up
his seventh win. Normally an outfielder, Adam Haseley tossed shutout ball into
the sixth inning in his first mound appearance since May 23.

Deflate-gate

NEW YORK (AP) _ The attorney for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
said no timetable has been set for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL’) to
make a decision on Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension. The appeal was
heard yesterday and lasted 10 hours as Brady seeks a reduction of his suspension
for his role in the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game.
Brady’s attorney felt their side put in a very compelling case but had no other
comments concerning the proceedings.

Aggie Baseball Adds Four for 2016 Campaign

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies added four players to the roster for the 2016 campaign, head coach Rob Childress announced on Monday.

Since their initial fall signing class, the Aggies have inked three high school pitchers and a junior college catcher to join the squad next season.

The Maroon and White added right-handed pitchers Hunter Spaeth (Lubbock) and Mitchell Kilkenny (Houston) from the Lone Star State and left-handed pitcher Dakota Klein (Suamico, Wisconsin), in addition to catcher Dayne Sommer (Fort Worth), who excelled as a freshman at North Texas Community College.

“I like the addition of these four young men,” Childress said. “Not only are they going to make an impact on the field, but they are going to make an impact in the community and the classroom. In addition to being very talented young men, they have great character as well.”

The four will join eight players who signed NLIs in November as newcomers on the roster. In 2016, the Aggies will look to extend their school-record string of NCAA Tournament appearances to 10 seasons after their 50-14 campaign in 2015.

2014-15 Texas A&M University Baseball signing class (as of June 22, 2015)
Alan Campero – INF – Laredo, Texas (Laredo Alexander HS) – 5-10, 165
Joel Davis – INF – Midwest City, Oklahoma (Midwest City HS/Seminole State College) – 6-3, 200
Tyler Ivey – RHP – Rockwall, Texas (Rockwall Heath HS) – 6-4, 200
George Janca  – INF – Georgetown, Texas (Georgetown, HS) – 6-2, 175
Trey Jimmerson – OF – Tomball, Texas (Concordia Lutheran HS) – 5-10, 175
Mitchell Kilkenny – RHP – Houston, Texas (Houston Christian HS) – 6-4, 195
Dakota Klein – LHP – Saumico, Wisconsin (Bay Port HS) – 6-4, 180
Stephen Kolek – RHP – Shepherd, Texas (Shepherd HS) – 6-3, 215
Tristan Metten – INF – Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Academy) – 6-1, 185
Dayne Sommer – C – Fort Worth, Texas (Boswell HS/North Texas Community College – 6-1, 210
Hunter Spaeth – RHP – Lubbock, Texas (Monterey HS) – 6-5, 210
Coll Stanley – OF – Houston, Texas (Strake Jesuit HS) – 6-3, 185

 

Mitchell Kilkenny – RHP, 6-4, 195 – Houston, Texas (Houston Christian High School)
· Named Perfect Game USA Preseason All-Central Region in 2015
· Tabbed H5AB.com’s Houston 5A Pitcher of the Year in 2014
· Earned H5AB.com All-Greater Houston 5A First Team status each of his last three seasons
· Garnered H5AB.com Preseason All-Greater Houston 5A First Team recognition in 2014 and 2015
· Named Perfect Game USA Underclassman Preseason All-America Honorable Mention in 2014
· A three-time All-Southwest Preparatory Conference selection

Assistant Coach Justin Seely on Mitchell Kilkenny: “Mitchell is one of the better pitchers in the Houston area and has been for the last two years. He can command all three pitches. He’s a guy that could see the mound for us very early.”

 

Dakota Klein – LHP, 6-4, 180 – Suamico, Wisconsin (Bay Port High School)
· Named Perfect Game USA Preseason All-Central Region in 2015
· Led squad to a WIAA Division I state tournament for the fifth time in six seasons in 2015
· Notched a 3-1 record with a 3.32 ERA on the mound and batted .346 (9-for-26) with six RBI in 18 games at the plate as a senior
· Selected Fox River Classic Conference Co-Player of the Year as a junior in 2014
· Chosen to play for Team Wisconsin at the 2014 Midwest Classic in Plainfield, Illinois
· As a junior went 6-0 in league play with a 0.87 ERA, striking out 57 in 40.2 innings, leading Bay Port to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament and the Fox River Classic Conference title

Assistant Coach Justin Seely on Dakota Klein: “Dakota is a left-handed kid, long lanky guy from Wisconsin. He needs some strength as well but he’s going to throw strikes and command three pitches. We are excited about him.”

Dayne Sommer – C, 6-1, 210 – Fort Worth, Texas (Boswell High School/North Texas Community College)
· Spending this summer playing for the Kitsap BlueJackets of the West Coast League
· Played for his freshman season at North Texas Community College where former A&M volunteer assistant Austin Knight is an assistant coach
· Appeared in 38 games for NTCC, batting .320 with a .404 on-base percentage, 25 runs, 41 hits, five doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI
· Four-year letterwinner at Boswell High School in Fort Worth
· Played for the North Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game as a senior in 2014
· Garnered All-State honors from the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association (Third Team Class 4A) and the Texas Sports Writers Association (Class 4A Honorable Mention) in 2014
· Named District 6-4A Most Valuable Player and All-District 6-4A First Team as a senior
· Hit .353 as a junior, logging two doubles, four triples, one home run and 29 RBI in 30 games
· Picked up All-District 6-4A First Team honors as a catcher during his junior campaign in 2013
· Batted .231 with five doubles, two triples and 14 RBI in 29 games as a sophomore
· Was also a standout in football at Boswell
· Logged 99 tackles, including 72 of the solo variety as a senior in 2013 to earn All-District 6-4A First Team recognition as an inside linebacker
· Tallied two interceptions as a junior in 2012
· Earned All-District 5-4A Second Team recognition as a safety during his sophomore campaign in 2011
· Son of TCU Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Don Sommer

Assistant Coach Justin Seely on Dayne Sommer: “Dayne is a physical catcher. He’s a guy that can really receive, catch and throw. He’s going to be a very good defender. At some point in his career he’s is going to be a really good hitter. We are very fortunate to have him”

Hunter Spaeth – RHP, 6-5, 210 – Lubbock, Texas (Monterey High School)
· Selected to play in the Greater West Texas Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game as a senior
· Named All-District 2-6A First Team as a first baseman and All-District 2-6 Second Team as a pitcher and outfielder as a senior in 2015
· Tabbed a Perfect Game USA Preseason All-America Honorable Mention in 2015
· Earned All-District 2-5A Second Team recognition as a junior in 2014
· Batted .262 and posted a 6-1 record on the mound as a junior
· Selected All-South Plains Third Team as a pitcher in 2014
· Also played quarterback, punter and receiver at Monterey
· Named an All-District 2-6A First Team punter as a senior in 2014
· Garnered All-State Football Academic Honorable Mention from the Texas High School Coaches Association as a senior in 2014

Assistant Coach Justin Seely on Hunter Spaeth: “Hunter is a big projectable right-hander. He’s going to fill up the zone with strikes. He needs development and strength, but he’s a guy that we think at some point is going to fit right into the mold of the guys we’ve been able to develop here before.”

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

NCAA Announces School Nominees for 2015 Woman of the Year

INDIANAPOLIS– NCAA member colleges and universities have nominated 480 female student-athletes – the most ever in the history of the program – for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Texas A&M has two nominees with All-Americans Olivia Ekpone from the track and field team and Shea Groom from soccer.

Now in its 25th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Of the nominees, 207 competed in Division I, 93 competed in Division II and 180 competed in Division III athletics.

The NCAA encourages member schools to honor its top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.

Then, conferences assess each nominee’s eligibility and select up to two conference nominees. All conference nominees are forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.

From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

SEC Sets Game Times for First Three Football Games

IRMINGHAM—The Southeastern Conference Office announced the game times and network designations for the first three weeks of the college football season today.

The AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game between Texas A&M and Arizona State will kick at 6 p.m. central on Saturday, Sept. 5 from NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will be televised by ESPN. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the gridiron.

The last time the Aggies played in the stadium in Houston was the 2011 Texas Bowl with the Aggies taking a 33-22 victory over Northwestern in front of 68,395 fans.

Texas A&M’s home opener against Ball State on Sept. 12 in the newly redeveloped Kyle Field will kick at 6 p.m. in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU. This will also be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in football.

The Sept. 19 game against Nevada at Kyle Field will kick at 11 am central and will be televised by the SEC Network. The Aggies hold a 1-0 advantage in the series with the Wolf Pack. The two teams met in San Antonio in 1950 with Texas A&M winning, 48-18.

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

SEC Announces 2014-15 Sportsmanship Award Winners

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Texas A&M men’s basketball team and support staff and South Carolina women’s basketball player Aleighsa Welch are recipients of the eighth-annual Southeastern Conference Sportsmanship Awards, the league office announced Thursday. The two honorees were selected by a vote of the SEC’s 14 Directors of Athletics.

“Sportsmanship and generosity are characteristics of student-athletes all across the SEC and these award winners are examples of the many acts of kindness that take place in college athletics,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.  “We are proud of the Aggie basketball program and Aleighsa Welch for representing the SEC in the manner in which they do.”

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team and support staff earned the men’s SEC Sportsmanship Award after the compassion displayed to the Auburn men’s basketball team when student-athlete Antoine Mason’s father passed away on the day of a game.

Anthony Mason, the father of Auburn’s Antoine Mason, passed away on the morning of Feb. 27, 2015.  Antoine was in New York with his father at the time of his death while the Auburn team was in College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M that night. Auburn’s equipment staff contacted Matt Watson of Texas A&M’s equipment staff for help with adding a ribbon to the team’s jerseys in honor of Mason only several hours before tip-off. Watson obtained the jerseys, had a black ribbon affixed to them via an external vendor and returned the jerseys to the locker room before the Auburn team arrived at the arena. Texas A&M then held a moment of silence prior to the game for Auburn and the Mason family.

Welch, a senior women’s basketball student-athlete and a three-time team captain at South Carolina, is the recipient of the women’s SEC Sportsmanship Award after the compassion and comfort she provided to two injured opposing players during conference games this season.

The first occurrence came at Alabama when a Crimson Tide player crashed into a cameraman near the basket and had to be placed on a stretcher. Welch, who had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher after a similar collision just six days earlier, ran to the opposing end of the court to give encouragement. In her team’s next game against Kentucky, an opposing player suffered a severe ankle injury. Welch left the bench as soon as the medical staff had stabilized the injury to offer the opposing player comfort and support.  She also sought out Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell to further express her concern after the game.

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

U.S. Open Starts Today

The 115th US Open cranks up today in what ammounts to a British Open to to the links style course at Chambers Bay. So what are we going to see from the links-iest track in US Open history? Nobody really knows for sure. Vegas has weighed in as usual though. Heading into the open Rory McIlroy: 7-1 Jordan Spieth: 8-1 and then  Phil Mickelson: 16-1,

Rangers Take 3rd From L.A.

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Rookie slugger Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer off Clayton
Kershaw to lead the Texas Rangers over the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Wednesday
night. Wandy Rodriguez shrugged off leadoff doubles by Yasiel Puig and Scott Van
Slyke in each of the first two innings to win his third straight decision in a
span of six starts. Keone Kela pitched a hitless ninth for his first major
league save.

Four Dingers Help Stros Climb Rockies

DENVER (AP) _ Carlos Correa hit one of Houston’s four home runs as the Astros
continued their power surge Wednesday night in an 8-4 win over the Colorado
Rockies. Chris Carter, Preston Tucker and Jake Marisnick also homered for the
first-place Astros. Correa and George Springer had three hits each.

FBI Looking At The Red Birds

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ An attorney for the St. Louis Cardinals says executives of the
team were not involved in the hacking of the Houston Astros’ player personnel
database. The Cardinals hired the Dowd Bennett firm to handle an internal
inquiry several months before this week’s disclosure that the FBI is
investigating whether the team hacked into the Astros computer system.

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