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TAMUC – Sports

Rotich wins Lions’ first Texas Relays title in 61 years with the nation’s top mark in the steeplechase.

AUSTIN – The Texas A&M University-Commerce’s track and field teams kicked off the 93rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in style, including a national leader and top 25-mark in the world this year. 

Nicodemus Rotich (Eldoret, Kenya) shocked the meet by recording the top collegiate time this season, automatic qualifying time, and top 25 world mark in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, winning the title at 8:50.48. 

The race is only his second collegiate steeplechase race, as he won the title at last week’s Wes Kittley Invitational at Abilene Christian. He improved on that time by over 16 seconds on Thursday. 

Rotich’s win is the Lions’ ninth all-time Texas Relays championship, the first in 61 years, and the first in a track event. 

“I’m ecstatic for Nico to come to Texas Relays for the first time and win the title,” said A&M-Commerce head track & field coach George Pincock. “It’s truly a special thing to win here and very special on your first trip. He’s a phenomenal athlete, and he joins a special group of champions.” 

Minna Svaerd (Karlstad, Sweden) ran the third-quickest time in Division II this season in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.18, just short of qualifying finals. 

Candesha Scott (Grenada) earned the fifth-longest women’s javelin throw in Division II this season at 45.38 meters (148′ 11″). It was just further than a mark set by Tamara Susa (Novi Bad, Serbia) earlier this season, giving the Lions two of the country’s six best javelin marks.

A&M-COMMERCE ALL-TIME TEXAS RELAY CHAMPIONS

1938 Hunt High Jump 6′ 2″
1939 Hunt High Jump 6′ 5″
1941 Randolph Harris Pole Vault 12′ 6″
1942 Cook Javelin 207′ 6 ¾”
1952 Charles Holding High Jump 6′ 9″
1953 Charles Holding High Jump 6′ 6″
1954 Charles Holding High Jump 6′ 7 ¾”
1960 James Baird Long Jump 24′ 10 ¼”
2021 Nicodemus Rotich 3,000-Meter Steeplechase 8:50.48

Friday’s action includes 14 Lion entries:
LIVE STREAM: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=b29cc62c-dea1-4c73-a066-86583ab8268d
LIVE RESULTS: http://relays.texassports.com/

9:30 a.m. Men’s Shot Put B Section Steven Sanchez
1 p.m. Women’s 4×100 Meter Relay Heat 3
Men’s 4×100 Meter Relay Heat 1
1:30 p.m. Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles Anne Spearman (Heat 6)
Zharia Moore (Heat 8)
1:40 p.m. Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles Tyler Guillory (Heat 5)
Dorian Andrews (Heat 8)
2 p.m. Women’s 100 Meter Dash Shadaria Hall (Heat 2)
2:15 p.m. Men’s 100 Meter Dash Stadrian Taylor (Heat 4)
Malcolm Woods (Heat 7)
2:30 p.m. Women’s 4×400 Meter Relay Heat 2
3 p.m. Men’s 4×400 Meter Relay Heat 1
3 p.m. Men’s High Jump B Section Dakari Hill
Micky Ferdinand

The No. 2 Lions return to LSC loop Friday against Lady Chaps.

COMMERCE – The No. 2 Texas A&M University-Commerce returns to Lone Star Conference action on Friday, hosting Lubbock Christian. 

WHO: Lubbock Christian at A&M-Commerce

WHERE: Commerce | John Cain Family Softball Field

WHEN: 4:00 pm on Friday, March 26

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 19-4 overall and 12-0 in the Lone Star Conference. Lubbock Christian is 17-8 overall and 7-5 in LSC action.

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is second nationally in the NFCA Division II Coaches Poll.

LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

LIVE STATS: http://statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tame 

The latest

A&M-Commerce is on a 15-game winning streak with doubleheader sweeps of then-No. 16 Rogers State, Eastern New Mexico, then-No. 17 West Texas A&M, Western New Mexico, UT Permian Basin, Midwestern State, and Texas Woman’s University and a single win over No. 9 Southern Arkansas. The 15-game win streak is tied for the second-longest active streak in Division II and is the second-longest in program history.

Lions return to action Friday, hosting West Texas A&M.

COMMERCE – The A&M-Commerce Lions return to action after 23 days away from the pitch on Friday, hosting the Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M. 

WHO: West Texas A&M at A&M-Commerce

WHERE: Commerce | Lion Soccer Field

WHEN: 1:00 pm on Friday, March 26

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 2-0-0 overall and 2-0-0 in Lone Star Conference play. WT is 3-2-0 overall and 3-1-0 in LSC action.

TELEVISION/LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

LIVE STATS: http://statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tame

 The Lions:

Head coach Neil Piper, who will coach the Lions for the 23rd season this spring, leads A&M-Commerce. He has a 259-143-38 record. He has moved up to 15th among active Division II coaches and 24th in Division II all-time in coaching victories. 

The Lions have six points in LSC play and face three matches in six days to close the regular season. 

A&M-Commerce ranks second in the LSC in scoring at 3.0 goals per game, and the Lions’ 29 shots and 11 shots on goal per contest lead the league. 

Leslie Campuzano (Garland – Lakeview Centennial) leads the nation and the LSC in goals per game at 2.00, scoring a pair in each game so far. Her 5.0 points per game are also top in the country. She and Skylar Sorrell (Monroe, La.) tied for the LSC lead in assists per game at 1.00, which ranks third in the nation. 

The Lion defense has been strong, with goalkeepers Jen Peters (Allen) and Lauren Banning (Pflugerville) splitting time. Banning has played in the second half of both games and been the goalkeeper of record. A key will be keeping the Lady Buffs off the board early, as the Lions have had to come back from a deficit in both games.

On the opponent

West Texas A&M is averaging 2.4 goals per game (fifth in the LSC) and allowing 1.0 goals per game (third in the league). Their 19.4 shots per game rank second in the LSC behind the Lions but follow nearly ten shots per game. 

Hannah Kelley-Lusk is second in total goals (7) and third in goals per game (1.4). Her 3.0 points per game are third in the conference. Calista Cordero has three assists at 0.60 per game, which is fifth in the league. 

Reagan Heelan is fifth in the conference in goal, allowing 1.02 goals per game. She’s made 19 saves for a .826 percentage. The Lady Buffs lost in overtime to DBU and have rolled out three straight wins by three goals over UT Tyler, Midwestern State, and Oklahoma Christian. 

In the series history

It is the 44th meeting between the two teams, with WT leading the series 25-16-2. The Lady Buffs have won the last four, but the Lions have not lost in Commerce since 2014. The Lions lost two designated home games played in Rockwall at that time. It is the first meeting on the Lion Soccer Field since a 3-1 TAMUC win in 2017.

Ten entries kick off Lions’ appearance at Texas Relays.

AUSTIN – The Texas A&M University’s track and field teams will push themselves against some of the nation’s best this weekend at the 93rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. 

Start lists for the event are released the night before each day of the competition. The Lions have ten entries in Thursday’s action, with three women throwers, the mid-sprints, and men’s distance. 

LIVE STREAM: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=c6994340-5ebe-4db6-be2b-395db37b05a1

LIVE RESULTS: https://pttiming.com/event.php?mid=37&pt=schedule

Lions’ LSC Tournament ends in the quarterfinals with a loss to Javelinas.

KINGSVILLE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team saw its Lone Star Conference Tournament run end in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday night, falling in three sets to Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

The Lions end the tournament with a 7-7 overall record, and the Javelinas move to 13-0 headed to next week’s semifinals. Set scores were 25-15, 25-20, and 25-20. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions were held to a .069 hitting percentage, while the Javelinas hit .231. Kingsville had 17 blocks in the match.

– Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.), Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point), and Keziah Williams (Branson, Mo.) tied for the team lead with six kills apiece. Destiny Greenwood (Fairfield, Calif.) and Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) each had five kills.

– Vela also passed out 14 assists, and Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) passed out 10.

– Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) had a match-high 15 digs, and Riley Davidson (Commerce) had 11. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The opening set was nip-and-tuck until the Javelinas went on a mid-frame run. The Lions trailed by only two points at 11-9, but Kingsville took off on a 13-3 run. Vela had two late kills, and Hebert had an ace to fend off the end of the set briefly, but the hill was too high to climb. Kingsville hit .294 in the set, while Commerce hit only .056. 

The Lions battled in the second set and within reach at exactly 11-9, as in the first set. The Javelinas had a four-point run that was part of a 12-7 surge, giving the hosts a 23-16 lead. Andersen and Gonelli had kills, and Vela had an ace, narrowing the deficit to 23-20, but TAMUK killed off the final two points for a 2-0 lead. Williams had four kills in the set for the Lions, who hit .091 in the set. 

A&M-Commerce jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the third set before the Javelinas reeled off seven straight points to go ahead 10-6. The Hogs pushed their lead to six points before the Lions kept the fight going, knocking down six consecutive points to tie the frame at 16-all. Greenwood had a block and two kills in the rally. The Javelinas scored five of the following six points to push ahead, and the hosts ended the match with another block.

The No. 2 Lions push their win streak to 15 with a 5-2 victory over No. 9 Southern Arkansas; Weather claims nightcap.

COMMERCE – The No. 2 Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team took a 5-2 win in dramatic fashion over No. 9 Southern Arkansas University on Wednesday. Lightning ended the scheduled doubleheader, and incoming storms claimed the second game. 

The Lions are now 19-4 on the season, while the Muleriders are 9-4. The Lions move their winning streak to 15 games, the second-longest active streak in the nation and second-longest in program history. 

A&M-Commerce returns to action on Friday with a Lone Star Conference doubleheader against Lubbock Christian at 4:00 pm at the John Cain Family Softball Field. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Madison Schaefer (Frisco – Independence) reached base on all four opportunities, scoring three times. She hit a three-run homer in the sixth and went 2-for-2 with two walks and three steals.

– Samantha Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.) had an RBI double in the sixth.

– Mackenzie Dugi (St. Hedwig – East Central), Kinsie Hebler (Cy-Falls), and Chealsea Slider (Texarkana – Texas High) had the Lions’ other three hits.

– Emily Otto (Lamar Consolidated) moved her record to 7-2 on the season, allowing two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in 6.0 innings. Alyssa LeBlanc (Katy) earned her first save of the year, with two strikeouts, a hit, and two walks in a scoreless seventh. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

Schaefer forced the issue immediately for the Lions, drawing a walk and stealing second and third. She scored on a Uxua Modrego (Burlada, Spain) sacrifice bunt. 

Otto allowed only three baserunners in the first five innings, with only one reaching scoring position. The Lions stranded five runners in scoring position in innings two through four but extended the lead in the fifth. Scahefer singled to the left, Dugi beat out a bunt single, and the duo moved to the scoring position on Modrego’s sacrifice bunt. Avery Boley (Fort Worth – Nolan Catholic) lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Lions a 2-0 lead. 

The Muleriders tied the game in the sixth when Laina Suesue blooped a single to the left and scored when Faith Otts snuck a two-run homer just over the left-center fence with one out. 

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Ta’Lyn Moody (Mansfield – Legacy) drew a walk and scored on Dutton’s double. Schaefer provided the insurance runs, blasting her seventh homer of the year to the left for a 5-2 lead. 

LeBlanc entered in a save situation, and the bases loaded with a single and two walks. Still, she induced a groundout with the go-ahead run at the plate, ending the game and giving the Lions their sixth win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season. 

The nightcap was a wild one, with five Mulerider runs in the first two innings and three SAU ejections. Mother Nature visited in the bottom of the fifth, and they called off the game before it was official. Dugi and Slider each had two hits in the game, unofficially.

Lion Soccer updates schedule for West Texas A&M and DBU matches

COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer team has announced an updated schedule for matches this week.

The Lions’ match against West Texas A&M will now be played at 1 p.m. Friday. The match against DBU has been moved to 7 p.m. Sunday to accommodate this move.

The Lions will honor their seniors prior to the Sunday match. Both matches will be played at the Lion Soccer Field.

Stay tuned to LionAthletics.com and our social media channels for updates on schedules throughout the season.

Lion Soccer Remaining Schedule

Friday March 26 WEST TEXAS A&M* 1 p.m.
Sunday March 28 DBU * 7 p.m.
Wednesday March 31 at Midwestern State* 5 p.m.

Lions hold steady at No. 2 in NFCA Division II Coaches Poll.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team held steady in this week’s national rankings. The Lions are ranked second in the national coaches poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday. 

It marks the 40th consecutive poll in which they ranked A&M-Commerce in the nation’s top 25. The Lions were also ranked second last week. 

The Lions are 18-4 on the year and are on a 14-game winning streak. The Lions received six first-place votes, up from four last week, and no pollster ranked them lower than the third. North Georgia received ten first-place votes and is the current national No. 1.

A&M-Commerce has nine teams in this top 25 on this year’s schedule, including No. 3 Augustana, No. 6 UT Tyler, No. 8 Oklahoma Christian, No. 12 Southern Arkansas, No. 10 West Texas A&M, No. 12 Rogers State, No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville, No. 16 Oklahoma Christian, and No. 24 Angelo State. The Lions are currently 5-1 against teams in the national rankings. 

Four of the Lions’ next six series are against top 25 teams, starting with today’s 2:00 pm doubleheader against No. 9 Southern Arkansas. The Lions also host No. 24 Angelo State on Sunday and play at No. 12 Rogers State on Tuesday.

2021 NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll – March 24

Rank School Points Record Last
1 North Georgia (10) 393 12-0 1
2 A&M-COMMERCE (6) 389 18-4 2
3 Augustana 363 8-2 3
4 Lincoln Memorial 349 22-1 4
5 Rollins 337 8-0 5
6 UT Tyler 326 18-4 6
7 Valdosta State 305 16-3 7
8 Concordia Irvine 280 9-4 10
9 Southern Arkansas 269 9-3 12
10 West Texas A&M 241 18-6 18
11 Indianapolis 226 11-2 13
12 Rogers State 210 12-6 9
13 Young Harris 206 17-4 15
14 Texas A&M-Kingsville 195 16-5 15
15 Winona State 182 11-2 14
16 Oklahoma Christian 167 17-5 8
17 West Florida 149 18-7 21
18 Saint Anselm 104 1-1 17
19 Grand Valley State 97 9-3 19
20 Colorado Mesa 75 12-0 22
21 Shepherd 61 14-1 RV
22 UAH 48 14-7 25
23 Saint Leo 46 8-4 11
24 Angelo State 43 16-7 24
25 Central Oklahoma 41 14-6 23

New to Poll: No. 21 Shepherd
Dropped Out: No. 20 West Chester
Receiving Votes: West Chester (24), Anderson (22), Western Washington (17), Minnesota State (16), Northwest Nazarene (9), Texas A&M International (6), Central Missouri (2), Auburn Montgomery (1), Trevecca Nazarene (1).

Lion Football announces 2021 schedule; A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State to begin two-year series at Globe Life Park.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has released its 2021 football competition schedule, featuring 11 games with an exciting neutral site contest in Lone Star Conference play. 

The Lions’ game against Midwestern State on September 11 will be played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, with A&M-Commerce as the home team. It will mark the Lions’ first regular season neutral site game since the Lone Star Conference Football Festival in 2014 and the first Division II game at Globe Life Park. Globe Life Park will be in its second fall season as a football facility. 

“I think it will be an exciting opportunity for the young men on this football team to play at Globe Life Park,” A&M-Commerce head football coach David Bailiff said. “I went to several of the XFL games there last year, and it’s a beautiful venue with incredible amenities. I’m excited about this team and this university to show what we have there.” 

Tickets for this game will be sold by the Texas Rangers-ticket office beginning in early April. More information, including specific sale dates, will be released on LionAthletics.com and our social media channels in the coming days. 

The 2021 game is the first of a two-game series between A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State at Globe Life Park. The 2022 game between the Lions and Mustangs will be played at Globe Life Park on October 8, with Midwestern State as the home team. 

The Lions and Mustangs will be meeting for the 26th time in a hotly contested series, with the Lions holding a 14-11 lead in the all-time series. It will be the first actual neutral site game in the series since 1952. The split game in 2018, which finished at Denton’s Apogee Stadium, was classified as an MSU home game, as the game began in Wichita Falls. 

“We are thrilled to welcome two-storied Lone Star Conference football programs to Globe Life Park for the next two college football seasons,” said Sean Decker, Rangers Executive Vice President for Sports and Entertainment. “Our ability to successfully host professional, college and high school football events in our iconic setup has already proven to be a tremendous experience for student-athletes, fans, and coaches. It has been a pleasure to work with the leadership at Texas A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State to make this game a reality.” 

The Lions have their 11-game schedule for the fall, with the University of Fort Lauderdale for a home game on Saturday, October 2. The Eagles are members of the National Christian College Athletic Association. This contest fills the spot in the schedule left when Azusa Pacific dropped its program. 

“We are ecstatic to usher in our 2021 season with a schedule which gives our students, alumni, and fans seven opportunities to see the Lions within our north Texas footprint,” said A&M-Commerce director of athletics Tim McMurray. “Not only do we have a chance to showcase our institution in iconic Globe Life Park, but our schedule allows for six true home opportunities in Commerce. We appreciate our partners at the Texas Rangers for allowing us to bring Lion Football to a larger stage.” 

The year’s schedule updates give the Lions six home games, four road games, and a neutral site contest. The home opener is now the West Florida game on September 18, a rematch of the 2017 national championship game, and matches up two of the last three NCAA Division II National Champions. 

“It’s going to be great to have six home games and a game you don’t have to travel far too,” Bailiff said. “Our student-athletes won’t get exhausted with a lot of travel, and it’s also an incredible value to our fans to know they can come to six games in Commerce. Very rarely in my career have I had the chance to have six home games, and the normal routine a team develops will help in a long season.” 

Season ticket plans will go on sale shortly, including the Homecoming game on October 16 against Western New Mexico. We will announce the Hall of Fame game, other notable dates, and further important details soon.

2021 LION FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
as of March 24, 2021

Sept. 2 (Thur.) at Colorado State-Pueblo Pueblo, Colo. 6 p.m. MDT
Sept. 11 vs. Midwestern State * Arlington (Globe Life Park) 6 p.m.
Sept. 18 WEST FLORIDA Commerce 6 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Texas A&M-Kingsville * Kingsville TBA
Oct. 2 FORT LAUDERDALE Commerce 6 p.m.
Oct. 9 SAGINAW VALLEY STATE Commerce 4 p.m.
Oct. 16 WESTERN NEW MEXICO * Commerce 4 p.m.
Oct. 23 at West Texas A&M * Canyon TBA
Oct. 30 UT PERMIAN BASIN * Commerce 4 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Angelo State * San Angelo TBA
Nov. 13 EASTERN NEW MEXICO * Commerce  4 p.m.

Lions take on undefeated Javelinas in the LSC Tournament quarterfinals.

COMMERCE – After an opening-round win, the A&M-Commerce Lions move on to the Lone Star Conference Tournament quarterfinals against a division winner in the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas. 

WHO: A&M-Commerce at A&M-Kingsville

WHERE: Kingsville | Steinke Center

WHEN: 6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 24

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 7-6 overall after winning the opening round match over Oklahoma Christian 3-1. A&M-Kingsville is 12-0 and ranked eighth in the nation.

TELEVISION/LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

LIVE STATS: http://statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tame 

What’s at stake:

The winner of the match advances to the LSC Tournament semifinals next Tuesday. They announce the seedings and location after Wednesday’s quarterfinals. 

On the Lions

Eleventh-year head coach Craig Case leads A&M-Commerce, who is the winningest coach in program history. His record at A&M-Commerce stands at 191-133. 

The Lions are ranked 11th in the conference in hitting percentage at .160, fifth in assists at 11.86 per set, fourth in kills at 13.04 per set, ninth in blocks at 1.90 per set, and second in digs at 19.92 per set. 

Taryn Cast ranks 14th in the conference in hitting percentage at .249, and Celeste Vela is sixth in the conference in assists at 6.46 per set. Riley Davidson’s 5.06 digs per set rank fourth in the league and Lyric Hebert is 13th in the conference at 3.98.  

On the opponent

TAMUK ranks second in the conference in hitting percentage at .236, and the Hogs’ 13.41 assists per set and 14.16 kills per set leads the league. They’ve been strong at the net with 2.4 blocks per set to lead the league, and the 19.59 digs per set rank third in the league. 

Kailey Estrad and Ayanna Jackson are in the top 10 in the conference in hitting percentage at .328 and .265. Setter Emily Witt leads the league in assists at 10.58, the only setter over 10 per set in the LSC. 

Jackson’s 1.14 blocks per set are second in the league. Her 3.14 kills per set are seventh in the conference. Nicole Murff has 5.39 digs per set to rank third in the league. 

In the series history

The Lions and Javelinas meet up for the 62nd time, with the Lions holding a 48-13 lead. The Lions won the first 31 meetings in the series. A&M-Commerce has won the last five meetings between the schools, dating back to 2017, and are 12-8 in the Steinke Center.

The No. 2 Lions host a key meeting of nationally-ranked teams with No. 12 Southern Arkansas Wednesday.

COMMERCE – The No. 2 Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team steps out of the Lone Star Conference loop Wednesday for a key matchup with nationally-ranked Southern Arkansas. 

WHO: Southern Arkansas at A&M-Commerce

WHERE: Commerce | John Cain Family Softball Field

WHEN: 2:00 pm on Wednesday, March 24

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 18-4 overall and 12-0 in the Lone Star Conference. Southern Arkansas is 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Great American Conference.

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is second nationally in the NFCA Division II Coaches Poll, and Southern Arkansas is ranked 12th in the nation. (They announce the new rankings Wednesday morning.)

LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

LIVE STATS: http://statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tame 

The latest

A&M-Commerce is on a 14-game winning streak with doubleheader sweeps of then-No. 16 Rogers State, Eastern New Mexico, then-No. 17 West Texas A&M, Western New Mexico, UT Permian Basin, Midwestern State, and Texas Woman’s University. The 14-game win streak tied for the second-longest active streak in Division II and second-longest in program history.

1 North Georgia 16
2 A&M-Commerce 14
3 Colorado Mesa 13
4 Lincoln Memorial 12
Shepherd 12
Sonoma State 12
UT Tyler 12
8 Rollins 9
Washburn 9

The 10-game home win streak is tied for the ninth-longest in Division II. St. Cloud State leads the nation in that category with 29 straight home wins.

The Lions are ranked second nationally, tying the highest-ever national ranking for the program. North Georgia is the No. 1 team, and neither team was voted lower than second in the nation, with UNG getting 12 first-place votes and A&M-Commerce getting four.

The Lions lead the nation in shutouts, with 11 blankings in 22 games, tied with Lubbock Christian. This is in large part due to a 4.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio which ranks 20th nationally. Alyssa LeBlanc ranks fourth nationally with 96 strikeouts and her 12 wins in the circle is tied for the national lead.

Narrow margins
We usually highlight individual performances here, but the narrow differences between the teams in terms of key statistics is noteworthy

Stat TAMUC SAU
Batting Average .324 .301
Runs per game 6.55 6.17
On-base percentage .433 .430
Earned Run Average 2.05 2.12

On the opponent…
The Muleriders are on a four-game winning streak and held the No. 1 national ranking earlier in the season. In 12 games, three Muleriders have double-digit RBIs. Kaxynn Dixon has a .412 average with three homers and 11 RBIs. Sara Evans leads the team with 12 RBIs and has a .387 average. Five SAU players are hitting over .300.

Sydney Wader has a 1.87 ERA in the circle with four complete games and a 3-2 record. Victoria Taylor has a 2.90 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 31 innings and a 6-0 record.

On the series history…
The all-time series is tied 2-2, with the Lions winning twice in 2015 and SAU winning in 2017 and 2020. In 2017, the Muleriders won a wild 15-14 game.

Lions’ dominant closing stretch earns 3-1 win over Oklahoma Christian in LSC Tournament Opening Round.

KINGSVILLE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team dominated the third and fourth sets Tuesday night to take a 3-1 win over Oklahoma Christian University in the opening round of the Lone Star Conference Volleyball Championship. 

The Lions, who are the second seed from the Central Division, won by set scores of 25-22, 20-25, 25-11, and 25-12, over the Eagles, the third seed from the North Division. 

A&M-Commerce has now won five straight matches and is 7-6 on the season, while Oklahoma Christian ends at 6-10 in its first season since 1983. 

The Lions now face the top seed from the South Division, undefeated and No. 8-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville, in the LSC quarterfinal at 6:00 pm Wednesday. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions dominated in all phases, with 65 kills to OC’s 35 and a .233 hitting percentage to the Eagles’ .108. The Lions had 93 digs to help keep points alive, and OC had only one set with double-digit kills.

– Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.) had a career-high 17 kills on a .279 hitting percentage for her fourth double-digit kill match of the season.

– Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point) hit .333 with 15 kills, and Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) had 11 kills with a .219 percentage.

– Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) averaged eight digs per set with 32 total. Riley Davidson (Commerce) also had 18 digs.

– Setters Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) and Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) each had double-doubles. Vela passed out 25 assists and had ten digs, and Shore had 21 assists and 11 digs. 

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH

“I’m really proud of how this team played tonight, especially in tight situations. On the defensive side of the ball, I was really pleased with our first contacts, and that was key down the stretch for us to make some runs. OC is an incredible blocking and serving team. For us to finish hitting over .200 is really pleasing. There was nothing easy about this win tonight.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The opening set was a game of runs, as each side seemed to take momentum for a few points at a time. The Lions scored seven of eight points to take an 18-14 lead before the Eagles scored five straight to take a 19-18 lead. Rashford then threw down three consecutive kills to start a 5-2 run that put the Lions ahead 23-21. Two Eagle errors handed the Lions a 25-22 set win. The Lions hit .146 with 17 kills in the frame, led by Rashford’s six finishers. 

The Eagles were able to tie the match at a set apiece, thanks to a big run in the middle of the second set. An 11-3 OC surge included three Lion hitting errors, and the Eagles took a 19-11 lead. A&M-Commerce was able to narrow its deficit to four points late in the frame before OC took the 25-20 win. Gonelli and Rashford each had four of the Lions’ 13 kills in the set, but ten hitting errors and a .071 percentage were too much to overcome. 

The Lions regained control with a run of their own in the third set. From a 3-all tie, TAMUC took off on a 14-4 rally with nine kills. That 17-7 lead was too much for the young Eagle squad to fight back from, and the Lions scored the final five points of the set, with an Andersen hammer closing the 25-11 win. OC’s Allyssa Hamlin had six kills in the Eagles’ 11 points, but the Lions hit .381 with 18 kills against only two errors, and Hebert had 11 digs. 

The fourth set was all Lions again, with strings of three and four points to the Eagles’ one. The Lions hit .350 in the set with 17 kills against only three errors. A Davidson service ace closed out the victory.

A&M-Commerce women take third in Lion Invitational.

TROPHY CLUB – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf team was climbing towards the top of the leaderboard Tuesday before settling for a third-place finish at the Lion Invitational. 

The Lions wrapped up the event at 618 (307-311, +42), finishing behind DBU (599) and Oklahoma Christian (610). [FULL RESULTS] 

Inma Ortiz Prieto (Huelva, Spain) was the Lions’ top finisher in fifth place at 8-over par 152 (76-76). She notched three birdies in Tuesday’s round and claimed her third top-five finish in six events this season. 

Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany) placed ninth at 10-over par 154 (77-77). She had two birdies Tuesday and has placed in the top 10 of all six events this year. 

Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) placed 11th at 12-over par 156 (77-79), Karlee Nichols (Smithson Valley) placed 15th at 13-over par 157 (77-80), and Michelle Becker (San Antonio – Reagan) placed 25th at 16-over par 160 (81-79). 

The Lions have two regular-season events remaining, both on an Arizona road trip. A&M-Commerce will play in the Palm Valley Classic in Goodyear, Ariz., on April 2-3 and the West Texas A&M Desert Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., on April 5-6.

 Rank   Team Scores  Total   Par 
1.  Dallas Baptist  291  308  599   +23
2.  Oklahoma Christian  309  301  610   +34
3.  A&M-COMMERCE   307  311  618   +42
4.  St. Mary’s  322  309  631   +55
5.  Ark.-Ft. Smith  321  318  639   +63
6.  Tex. A&M International  321  326  647   +71
7.  Cameron  327  322  649   +73
8.  Tex. A&M-Kingsville  325  329  654   +78
9.  Ranger College  326  333  659   +83
10.  Angelo St.  337  323  660   +84
 Midwestern St.  326  334  660   +84
12.  Oklahoma City  330  337  667   +91
13.  UT Permian Basin  344  335  679   +103
14.  Lubbock Christian  337  347  684   +108
15.  Missouri Southern St.  344  341  685   +109

A&M-Commerce 307 311   618    +42   3rd
Inma Ortiz Prieto 76 76   152    +8   t-5th
Sophie-Charlott Hempel 77 77   154    +10   t-9th
Sarah Wongsinth 77 79   156    +12   t-11th
Karlee Nichols 77 80   157    +13   t-15th
Michelle Becker 81 79   160    +16   t-25th

McCulloch’s top 10 moves Lion men to a fifth-place finish in Lion Invitational.

TROPHY CLUB – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golf team shot even par in the Lion Invitational final round on Tuesday to earn a fifth-place finish. 

The Lions’ final round 288 on the par 72, 7,021-yard Hogan Course at Trophy Club Country Club improved five strokes over Monday’s opening round. 

That round combined with Monday’s 293 gave A&M-Commerce a 581 total, five strokes behind tournament champions Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. LSC foes Cameron, Midwestern State, and Oklahoma Christian were all tied for second at 1-over par 577. [FULL RESULTS] 

Nathan McCulloch (Edinburgh, Scotland) had a great round of 4-under par 68 to finish with a two-day total of 142 (-2, 74-68). He birdied his first four holes of Tuesday’s round and had the third-best game of any player on the course. His ninth-place finish in the tournament gave him a fourth top 10 of the season in four events. 

Tripp Wallace (Wolfforth Frenship) had an even-par round with two birdies and two bogeys, finishing the tournament in 20th place at 145 (+1, 73-72). 

Joe Wolcik (Cleveland – Tarkington) placed 29th at 5-over par 149, Zach Burch (Lubbock – Cooper) placed 47th at 7-over par 151, and Simon Haas (Lorch, Germany) placed 52nd at 8-over par 152. Haas had four birdies on the way to an even-par round Tuesday, and Burch finished with birdies on three of his last five holes. 

The Lions have one regular-season event remaining, playing in the DBU Men’s Classic at Robson Ranch in Denton on April 5-6.

 Rank   Team Scores  Total   Par 
1.  Hutchinson CC  289  287  576   E
2.  Cameron  290  287  577   +1
 Midwestern St.  288  289  577   +1
 Oklahoma Christian  291  286  577   +1
5.  A&M-COMMERCE   293  288  581   +5
6.  Tex. A&M International  287  297  584   +8
7.  Dallas Baptist  290  299  589   +13
8.  Rogers St.  298  294  592   +16
9.  UT Tyler  294  300  594   +18
10.  St. Mary’s  302  293  595   +19
11.  Missouri Southern St.  298  298  596   +20
12.  Ranger College  300  301  601   +25
13.  Lubbock Christian  304  298  602   +26
 Mississippi College  298  304  602   +26
15.  West Texas A&M  304  299  603   +27
16.  Arkansas-Ft. Smith  308  307  615   +39

 

Tex. A&M-Commerce 293 288   581    +5   5th
Nathan McCulloch 74 68   142    -2   t-9th
Tripp Wallace 73 72   145    +1   t-20th
Joe Wolcik 71 78   149    +5   t-29th
Zach Burch 75 76   151    +7   t-47th
Simon Haas 80 72   152    +8   t-52nd

Lion Softball doubleheader vs. Southern Arkansas moved to 2:00 pm Wednesday.

COMMERCE – The start time of Wednesday’s softball doubleheader between Texas A&M University-Commerce and Southern Arkansas has moved up an hour to avoid potential incoming inclement weather. 

The No. 2 Lions and No. 12 Muleriders will now start the twinbill at 2:00 pm at A&M-Commerce’s John Cain Family Softball Field. 

Stay tuned to LionAthletics.com and our social media channels for updates on schedules throughout the season.

Kernal and Robinson named WBCA Honorable Mention All-Americans.

LILBURN, Ga. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce sophomore duo of DesiRay Kernal and Dyani Robinson have been named Honorable Mention All-Americans, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today. 

It marks the first All-American honor for student-athletes and the third season in program history with multiple All-Americans. 

“What a tremendous honor for both Dyani and DesiRay in a year filled with so many challenges,” said Lion head women’s basketball coach Jason Burton. “They were both tasked with moving into bigger roles in their sophomore years and to say they stepped up big for us would be an understatement. I couldn’t be more proud of these two young women for not only what they’ve done on the court but for the great teammates they are and the great women they are becoming. They are just tapping into the players they can become, and if they’re willing to put in the work, the future will be very, very bright for them both.” 

Kernal (Newton, Kan.) averaged 15.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in her sophomore season, earning first-team all-Lone Star Conference honors. She scored in double figures in 14 of the Lions’ 18 games, with over 20 points in six games. She had double-doubles in five games, including the regional semifinal game against Southwestern Oklahoma. She also led the LSC in free throws and ranked fourth in the league in scoring. 

Robinson (Cypress – Langham Creek) averaged 16.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 31 assists per game. She led the LSC in scoring in the regular season, scoring in double digits in 14 of 15 games played. She had 20 points or more in six games, including 29 in a record-breaking rout of Midwestern State and 25 in the regional semifinal game against Southwestern Oklahoma. 

The duo led the Lions to their third straight NCAA Division II Championship berth. The win over Southern Nazarene in the regional quarterfinals made the 2020-21 Lions the second squad in program history to win a national tournament game. Along with 2019-20 WBCA honorable mention, they project All-American Chania Wright and the 2021-22 Lions to return three WBCA All-Americans.

WBCA All-Americans

Name School
Hannah Belanger Truman State
Makalla Cange Lander
Kwajelin Farrar Valdosta State
Brynne Lytle Christian Brothers
Brooke Olson Minnesota-Duluth
Brooklyn Pannell Charleston (W. Va.)
Zamiya Passmore Lander
Paige Robinson Drury
Allie Schulte Lubbock Christian
Zakiyah Winfield Glenville State

WBCA Honorable Mention All-Americans

Name School
Amy Baum Hawaii Pacific
Ay’Anna Bey Benedict
Kiara Bradley William Jewell
Claire Dingus Saint Martin’s
Zyaire Ewing Delta State
Riley Fitzwater Concord (W. Va.)
Lexy Hightower West Texas A&M
Jaden Hobbs Fort Hays State
Tre’Zure Jobe Emporia State
DesiRay Kernal A&M-COMMERCE
Alex LaPorta Missouri-St Louis
Ellie Mackay Michigan Tech
Jada Marone Notre Dame (Ohio)
Allie Navarette Metro State
Erin Norling Wayne State (Neb.)
Lilly Ritz Wheeling
Dyani Robinson A&M-COMMERCE
Haley Schubert Lee (Tenn.)
Maddie Sutton Tusculum
Julianne Sutton North Georgia
Katie Titus Daemen
Olivia West Hawaii Pacific
Caroline White Daemen
Tori Wortz St Cloud State
Braelyn Wykle Carson-Newman

Lions start LSC Tournament with an opening-round game vs. Oklahoma Christian.

COMMERCE – The A&M-Commerce Lions start the 2021 spring Lone Star Conference Tournament on Tuesday night, taking on the Oklahoma Christian Eagles. 

WHO: A&M-Commerce vs. Oklahoma Christian

WHERE: Kingsville | Steinke Center

WHEN: 6:00 pm on Tuesday, March 23

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce completed the regular season with a 6-6 record and is the second seed out of the LSC Central. OC went 6-9 overall and 4-8 in conference play as the third seed out of the LSC North. 

On the Lions:

The 11th-year Head Coach Craig Case leads A&M-Commerce, who is the winningest coach in program history. His record at A&M-Commerce stands at 190-133. 

The Lions rank 11th in the conference in hitting percentage at .153, moving up two spots in that ranking with the sweep of TWU. The 11.69 assists per set rank sixth in the league, as does the 12.76 kills per set. The back row defense has kept points alive, ranking second in the conference with 19.62 digs per set. 

Taryn Cast ranks 12th in the conference in hitting percentage at .260, and Celeste Vela’s 6.49 assists per set rank sixth in the conference. Maiya Dickie has moved into the top 20 in the conference in blocks at 0.76 per set. 

Sydney Anderson is 17th in the LSC in kills per set at 2.60, and Dickie is 20th at 2.43, as the setters have spread the offensive opportunities around. 

Riley Davidson ranks fourth in the conference in digs per set at 5.11, even after moving to outside hitter from libero earlier this year. Relatively new libero Lyric Hebert is 17th in the conference in digs at 3.62 per set.  

On the opponent

Oklahoma Christian was playing intercollegiate volleyball for the first time since 1983 and qualified for the LSC Tournament with one win over Midwestern State and two wins over Cameron. The entire Eagle roster is freshmen or junior college transfers. 

The Eagles rank 13th in the conference in hitting percentage at .133, and their 61 sets played ties for the conference lead. OC has been a solid defensive team, ranking seventh in the LSC in opponents’ hitting percentage at .160, tied with the Lions in that category. 

Morgan Demuth ranks sixth in the LSC in hitting percentage at .273 and fourth in blocks at 1.08 per set but has missed 12 sets the Eagles have played. Spencer Plato is 15th in the conference at 5.04 assists per game. 

Caitlynne Hudgens has 2.45 kills per set to rank 19th in the league and leads the Eagles. The OC service game has been strong, with Karlee Alonzo leading the league with 0.56 aces per set and Plato ranking fourth at 0.46. The top seven players in the league in aces are from the North Division. 

In the series history

The Lions and Eagles meet for the first time, as the teams did not meet in intercollegiate competition before OC dropping their program.

Lion men sit in seventh after the first round of Lion Invitational, only six strokes off the lead.

TROPHY CLUB – After a tightly contested opening round, the Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golf team sits in seventh place in the Lion Invitational. 

The Lions completed the trip around the par 72, 7,021-yard Hogan Course at Trophy Club Country Club in 293 strokes (+5). Despite the lower position on the leaderboard, the Lions are only six strokes back of the lead, which Texas A&M International holds at 287 (-1). 

They originally had planned to play 36 holes Monday, but lightning came into the picture around lunchtime, delaying the event by nearly three hours. It eliminated 18 holes of play. 

Joe Wolcik (Cleveland – Tarkington) leads the Lions with a 1-under par 71 to sit in 10th place. He had five birdies on the day, all in a stretch of seven holes. He leads the tournament in par four scorings. 

Tripp Wallace (Wolfforth Frenship) is in 20th place at 1-over par 73 with three birdies. Nathan McCulloch (Edinburgh, Scotland) is in 29th place at 2-over par 74, carding an eagle on the 10th hole. 

Zach Burch (Lubbock – Cooper) is in 34th at 3-over par with four birdies, and Simon Haas (Lorch, Germany) is in 73rd at 8-over par 80. 

The event concludes Tuesday with 18 holes of action.

Rank Team Total Par
1. Tex. A&M International 287 -1
2. Midwestern St. 288 E
3. Hutchinson CC 289 +1
4. Cameron 290 +2
Dallas Baptist 290 +2
6. Oklahoma Christian 291 +3
7. A&M-COMMERCE 293 +5
8. UT Tyler 294 +6
9. Mississippi College 298 +10
Missouri Southern St. 298 +10
Rogers St. 298 +10
12. Ranger College 300 +12
13. St. Mary’s 302 +14
14. Lubbock Christian 304 +16
West Texas A&M 304 +16
16. Arkansas-Ft. Smith 308 +20

 

A&M-Commerce 293 +5 7th
Joe Wolcik 71 -1 10th
Tripp Wallace 73 +1 t-20th
Nathan McCulloch 74 +2 t-29th
Zach Burch 75 +3 t-34th
Simon Haas 80 +8 t-73rd

Four Lion women sit in the top 10, with the team in second.

TROPHY CLUB – Four Lions are in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard. The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf team sits in second place in the team standings after 18 holes at the Lion Invitational. 

The Lions shot a 307 (+19) in the opening round, two strokes ahead of Oklahoma Christian and 16 strokes behind DBU. 

They originally planned the event to play 36 holes Monday, but lightning came into the picture around lunchtime, delaying the event by nearly three hours as most teams were completing their ninth hole. It eliminated 18 holes of play. 

Inma Ortiz Prieto (Huelva, Spain) leads the Lion pride in sixth place at 4-over par 76, notching two birdies on the par 72, 6,075-yard Whitworth Course. She enters the final round one stroke out of an all-tournament spot and six strokes off the lead. 

The trio of Sophie-Charlott Hempel (Pirmasens, Germany), Karlee Nichols (Smithson Valley), and Sarah Wongsinth (Udon Thani, Thailand) tied for 10th on the leaderboard, all at 5-over par 77. 

Wongsinth leads the event with 14 pars, while Nichols had 13 and Hempel had 11. Michelle Becker (San Antonio – Reagan) is in 26th place at 9-over par 81, carding two birdies. 

The event concludes Tuesday with 18 holes of action.

Rank Team Total Par
1. DBU 291 +3
2. A&M-COMMERCE 307 +19
3. Oklahoma Christian 309 +21
4. Ark.-Ft. Smith 321 +33
Tex. A&M International 321 +33
6. St. Mary’s 322 +34
7. Tex. A&M-Kingsville 325 +37
8. Midwestern St. 326 +38
Ranger College 326 +38
10. Cameron 327 +39
11. Oklahoma City 330 +42
12. Angelo St. 337 +49
Lubbock Christian 337 +49
14. Missouri Southern St. 344 +56
UT Permian Basin 344 +56

 

A&M-Commerce 307 +19 2nd
Inma Ortiz Prieto 76 +4 t-6th
Sophie-Charlott Hempel 77 +5 t-10th
Karlee Nichols 77 +5 t-10th
Sarah Wongsinth 77 +5 t-10th
Michelle Becker 81 +9 t-26th

Perera is named Lone Star Conference Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

RICHARDSON – The Lone Star Conference named Texas A&M University-Commerce national champion high jumper Ushan Perera the Lone Star Conference’s male Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, as announced Monday. 

Perera is the national champion in the men’s high jump after clearing 2.26 meters (7′ 5″) at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, AL, earlier this month. His top clearance was five and a half inches higher than the nearest competitor. He set the fourth-highest clearance in Division II history, the Sri Lankan national record, and the A&M-Commerce record. He earned the Lions’ sixth indoor national championship and had previously been named the USTFCCCA’s National Field Athlete of the Year and South Central Region Field Athlete of the Year.  

Perera is the second Lion to earn LSC male Indoor Field Athlete of the Year honors, joining Matt Rich’s 2015 honor. The Lion men have won six total men’s LSC Athlete of the Year honors in indoor track and field. 

A&M-COMMERCE LSC INDOOR ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

2015 Matt Rich Field
2016 Ricky Romero Track
2017 Ricky Romero Track
2018 Rashard Clark Track
2019 Rashard Clark Track
2021 Ushan Perera Field