COLLEGE STATION -- The Big 12 Champion Texas A&M baseball team announced its annual award winners on Monday, as selected by members of the team.
Junior shortstop Jose Duran was chosen by his teammates as the Marion Pugh Most Valuable Player. Named the Big 12 Player and Newcomer of the Year, Duran finished the season with a team-best .372 batting average to go along with six home runs and 68 RBI. The Fort Worth native collected 103 hits in 2008, ranking him third all-time on the single-season chart and becoming only the fourth player in school history to total 100 hits in a season. Duran was a sixth-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Senior Darby Brown earned the Loraine B. and William B. “Breezy” Breazeale RBI Award after compiling a team-high 69 RBI on the year. The Lubbock native, who started 61 games, hit .339 with 12 home runs and a .570 slugging percentage. Brown did not make an error in 166 chances at first base in ’08 and led the Aggies with 11 game-winning RBI.
Junior right-hander Kyle Thebeau was named the C.E. “Pat” Olsen Outstanding Pitcher for 2008. A native of Corpus Christi, he set a school record with 33 appearances on the year, finishing with six wins, three saves and a 2.12 ERA that ranked him second in the Big 12. Thebeau, whose 79 strikeouts ranked second amongst the Aggie staff, held opposing batters to a .206 average and was a ninth-round pick by the San Diego Padres.
The Marion Pugh Spirit award, given to the player who is most instrumental to team unity and who provided valuable leadership both on and off the field, went to senior outfielder Daman Aaron. A native of Lubbock, Aaron appeared in 20 games and hit .261. He hit his first career home run on May 13 at UT Arlington and finished his time at A&M with a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield.
Redshirt freshman catcher Kevin Gonzalez earned the Wally Moon Award, which is given to the player who shows the most improvement from September through the end of the season. Gonzalez appeared in 56 games for the Aggies in 2008, starting 43 behind the plate, and finished the campaign with a .261 batting average, three home runs and 29 RBI. The Katy native committed only two errors behind the plate, finishing the season with a .995 fielding percentage, while throwing out 17 runners attempting to steal.
Texas A&M finished the season with a 46-19 overall record after capturing the school’s third Big 12 regular-season championship and the first back-to-back regional titles in school history.
“I’ve said it before, this is the toughest team I’ve been around in all my years of coaching,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Each and every player gave us all they had every single day they came to the park. The ones that have played their final game for us have laid the foundation for the great things to come with this program, and the ones that will return are as always committed to kicking down that door and bringing this program back to Omaha. I am very proud of every single one of them.”
TEXAS A&M BASEBALL AWARD WINNERS
Daman Aaron Marion Pugh Spirit Award
Darby Brown Loraine B. and William B. “Breezy” Breazeale RBI Award
José Duran Marion Pugh Most Valuable Player
Kevin Gonzalez Wally Moon Award
Kyle Thebeau C.E. “Pat” Olsen Outstanding Pitcher Award