Almost every weekend during the academic school year, there are many athletic activities going on in several sports. Despite all of the competition involving most the 10 conference teams in any given weekend, there generally are only a few team or individual performances that truly stand out. That was the case this past weekend, and in three different sports.
The Baylor baseball team entered the weekend tied forthird place in the conference standings with a record of 8-6, one game back of the league-leader, Oklahoma. On tap for the Bears this past weekend was a three-game series at home against in-state rival Texas. Unlike past seasons, though, this was not your grandfather’s or your father’s Texas team in baseball. The Longhorns are struggling mightly this season. Texas is only 5-13 in Big 12 play this season, after finishing second in the league a year ago – to who else? Baylor.
The Longhorns managed just four runs total in the three weekend games at Baylor, losing all three, elevating the Bears into a virtual tie with Oklahoma for the top spot in the conference standings, just percentage points back of the 13th ranked Sooners (USA Today Coaches Poll). Baylor second baseman Lawton Langford was named Player of the Week in the Big 12 for hitting .438 last week, including seven hits in 16 plate appearances, six RBI, three runs and two steals. He reached base in all four games last week, extending his current streak to 35 games, the longest in the Big 12 this season. He went three for five in the second game in the Texas series, a 1-0 Baylor win, and was two for four in the series finale on Sunday, a 5-2 Bears victory.
Also in baseball over the weekend, TCU sophomore pitcher Brandon Finnegan was named to the 2013 USA Collegiate National Team. Finnegan, a lefthanded starter for the Horned Frogs, has a 2.12 earned run average in 11 starts this season. He has been even better against conference teams, with a 1.15 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 39 innings. Finnegan is the fifth player in TCU history to earn a spot on the USA National Team abd the 47th Big 12 player to be named to the team.
The Oklahoma men’s team won it second consecutive Big 12 Tennis Championship, defeating No. 1 seed Baylor in the title match 4-2. OU’s Guillermo Alcorta, the Sooners’ No. 2 singles player and ranked 58th in the country, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Championship. On the women’s side, Texas downed No. 5-seed Oklahoma State 4-0 to win its second straight conference championship. Breaunna Addison of Texas was the women’s Most Outanding Player.
Both the Oklahoma men and Texas women now advance to the NCAA Tennis Championships to be held May 16-27 at the University of Illinois.
Meanwhile, at the Payton Jordan Track & Field Invitational over the weekend in Palo Alto, Calif., Oklahoma State distance runners Natalja Pilusina and Girma Mecheso set NCAA records in the 1,500 meter and 10,000 meter runs, respectively. Pulusina’s time of 4:09.57 in the 1,500 meters was two and a half seconds better than the previous NCAA record, but just off her school record and personal best. She is ranked 10th in the world at the 1,500-meter distance.
Mecheso’s time for the 10,000 meters (27:52.38) beat his school record by 24 seconds and was 42 seconds better than the previous best NCAA time. The performance moved him up to 15th in the world at 10,000 meters.
“It was an incredible performance by both Girma and Natalja,” said Dave Smith, their coach at Oklahoma State.
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