Aggie Baseball Legend John Byington Remembers Historic Season 25 Years Later

Just one month ago the Aggie baseball team put together one of the best days in program history, beating Rice and Texas to stay alive at the Houston regional in the NCAA tournament.

That Sunday was compared to one 25 years before, when John Byington blasted off against Bevo.

Byington is still in baseball, now as head coach at McMurry University in Abilene. He just wrapped up his sixth season as head coach of the Warhawks, and this time of year, especially a silver anniversary, gets him thinking of his big day. "All the attention on college baseball with the World Series it does, this time with the regionals going on recently and the super regionals it is a certain time of the year that brings back good memories," Byington said.

The Longhorns had just snapped A&M's 39-game Olsen Field winning streak the night before, and were looking for a series win over the top-ranked Aggies Sunday.

With the score knotted at 14 in the bottom of the ninth, Byington's first bomb won the first game of the double header.

"First pitch I was going to get anything up in the zone, I was looking for something up in the zone and just get the bat head out," said Byington. "Sure enough, the first pitch was a fastball up and in and I got enough of the barrel on it and with the wind blowing out it took it out of the yard. So I did my job getting the run in in the situation, but the added benefit of it blowing out of the park so you get four RBI instead of one, but the main point is that we won the game."

So that set the stage for the deciding game of the series.

Texas scored three in the top of the 9th to tie it at five, and Byington got another shot with two on and two out.

"I was looking for a slider the first pitch because I thought he would try to start me off with that, and he did. He was probably just trying to get strike one in there, trying to get ahead in the count on me, but it was just right there not a hard breaking ball, just a 'get me in there' slider and I was ready for it. I really got that one. I really hit it really as good as I could hit a ball and it went to left-center and that was time to celebrate. After the first one we had another game to play so it was short-lived, but after doing it twice and being done for the day it was a great feeling to actually finish them off that second game and doing it that way."

The Aggies ended up losing to LSU in the regionals on another memorable Sunday in A&M baseball history, but this one for the wrong reasons as the Ags dropped two games to the Tigers to miss out on a trip to Omaha.

But 58 wins is still a single-season program record, and John Byington will forever be remembered for one of the best days in Aggie baseball history.


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