Moroney Stems the Tide with Walk-off, Pinch-hit Single

Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-24 19:48:48-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies got a walk-off single from senior Jonathan Moroney to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide, 2-1, in the series rubber match Sunday on Blue Bell Park at Olsen Park.

The game was all square 1-1 heading into the bottom half of the ninth inning. Ryne Birk worked a walk from Tide reliever Matt Foster (4-3) to begin the frame. Michael Barash laid down the Aggies’ third sacrifice bunt of the game to put the winning run in scoring position. That put Moroney in a position to be the hero. After looking at the first two pitches, Moroney punched a 1-1 offering back through the middle. With Birk rounding third with a full head of steam, Alabama centerfielder Georgie Salem misplayed the ball allowing the winning run to score uncontested.

With the victory, Texas A&M (32-8, 12-6 SEC) extended their lead in the SEC Western Division back out to two games. They sit two games ahead of LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss who are all 10-8 in league play.

The Aggies struck first with a run in the third inning off Alabama starter Nick Eicholtz. With one out, Austin Homan singled up the middle bringing his hitting streak to 13. Moss followed it up with a double off the left field wall plating Homan and putting the Aggies up 1-0.

Alabama (24-17, 9-9 SEC) pitching buckled down after that keeping the Maroon and White off the scoreboard for the next seven innings. 

Kyle Simonds got the start on the mound for A&M. The senior allowed just two hits in five innings of work. He fanned eight in during his team leading 10th start of the season.  

Simonds worked into some trouble in the sixth allowing two walks to begin the inning and was relieved by Andrew Vinson. Vinson started with a huge play getting the lead runner at third on a sacrifice attempt. That would save a run as Bama singled up the middle scoring just one, but tying the game. With one out, Bama sent a dribbler down the baseline giving Vinson an easy out at first. Cobie Vance, the Alabama runner on third, took off for home on the throw, but Melton fired home ending the inning on a 1-3-2 double play.

A&M threatened to break the tie in the eighth putting the leadoff runner on with Homan’s walk. After getting sacrificed to second, Homan was stranded there when the Aggie bats went quiet for the next two outs.

Simonds and Vinson held Alabama to just three hits on the afternoon with two of the infield variety.

Vinson (1-1) worked 4.0 innings of relief using only 32 pitches He surrendered one hit fanning four Tide hitters. His perfect ninth inning set the table for the Aggies’ walk-off magic in the bottom half of the inning.

Birk reached base twice and scored the winning run for A&M. Boomer White went 1-for-3 with a walk. The junior has reached base twice in each of the 18 SEC games. Homan had a perfect day going 1-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt.

Despite being left with no decision, Eicholtz was brilliant in the start for Alabama. He yielded one run on six hits and no walks while striking out five in 7.0 innings.

Texas A&M went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position on the day, but the one hit was the game-winner from Moroney.

The Aggies return to Blue Bell Park at Olsen Field for a Tuesday tilt with UT-Arlington before heading to Fayetteville to meet the Razorbacks. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 6:34.