Aggies Clinch Series vs. No. 6 Ole Miss with 11-5 Win

Posted at 11:36 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-21 00:36:07-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies notched an 11-5 victory over the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels Friday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to put themselves in position to win their first SEC regular-season title on Saturday.

The Aggies enter the regular-season finale tied with Mississippi State atop the SEC standings with 20-9 league ledgers. The duo are a half-game ahead of South Carolina (19-9) and a full game ahead of Florida (18-9). The Gators have to finish a suspended game in the afternoon before playing their finale at LSU.

A win on Saturday would give the Aggies at least a share of the title and they would own the outright crown with a win and a Mississippi State loss. With a loss on Saturday, Texas A&M would need season-finale losses by Mississippi State (vs. Arkansas) and South Carolina (at Alabama) and a loss by Florida in one of their two Saturday contests to earn a share of the title.

The Aggies’ quest for the series sweep and SEC title is set for 2:02 pm on Saturday. Tickets are sold out for the game.

Texas A&M pounded out 16 hits on the evening, paced by Boomer White. White batted 4-for-5 with one double, one home run, three runs and three RBI. With his four hits, White has 57 base hits in SEC play in 2016, the most on the league books, supplanting LSU’s Micah Gibbs (54 – 2010) and Alabama’s Josh Rutledge (54 – 2008).

Nick Banks batted 3-for-4 with two runs on the day. J.B. Moss went 2-for-5 with one run and three RBI. Jonathan Moroney was 2-for-4, including a towering two-run shot in the seventh that put the nail in the coffin.

Andrew Vinson was spectacular in relief, retiring 15 of the 16 batters he faced in 5.0 innings of work, including eight strikeouts to pick up his second save of the season.

Ole Miss (39-16, 17-12 SEC) drew first blood with three runs in the top of the first. Errol Robinson started the game with a single to left-center and he stole second base with one out. Tate Blackman and J.B. Woodman drew walks off starter Turner Larkins to load the bases. Henri Lartigue slipped a single through the right side to plate two and a sacrifice fly by Colby Bortles gave the Rebels a 3-0 lead.

Larkins issued a one-out walk in the second inning to end his night. Stephen Kolek (3-0) got the final two outs of the frame to get the Aggies to the home half of the second.

Texas A&M (41-12) took advantage of a costly error to put six runs up in the second. With one out, Michael Barash golfed a single down the rightfield line and Banks singled up the middle. Moroney laced a single through the right side to load the bases. Austin Homan followed with a chopper to third and the Rebels made the throw home to retire Barash for the second out of the inning. Nick Choruby appeared to end the inning with a grounder to second, but Blackman misplayed the ball and the error scored Banks. Moss followed with a single through the left side to plate two runs and White poured more salt on the wound with a three-run dinger to leftfield, staking the Aggies to a 6-3 lead.

The Rebels trimmed a run off the lead in the fourth as Bortles doubled down the rightfield line to start the frame, moved to third on a groundout by Will Golsan and scored on a groundout by Michael Fitzsimmons.

The Aggies responded with two runs in their half of the fourth. The inning started with a perfect bunt by Homan that tight-roped the first base line for a single. Homan moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Choruby and scored on a single to leftfield by Moss. White hit a wall-banger to leftfield for a double, but Moss was retired on the basepaths for the second out of the inning. Melton followed with a first-pitch single to inflate the cushion to 8-4.

Ole Miss scored a run in the fifth, but Moroney’s two-run home run in the seventh and an RBI single by Ryne Birk iced the game.

David Parkinson (4-3) was saddled with the loss for the Rebels. He allowed eight runs, two earned, on 12 hits while striking out two in 3.2 innings.

Head Coach Rob Childress

On the title chances…
 “Certainly that’s a good thing, but we would like to finish it off the right way. When we recruit our players that’s what we promise them right away, the opportunity to win trophies and rings. Nothing comes easy in this league and it hasn’t all year long, but I’m certain tomorrow won’t be easy as well. We’ll have our hands full with Ole Miss and we’ll get their best shot. But, I expect our guys to come out loose and have fun like we have the first two games.”

Senior outfielder J.B. Moss

On making Ole Miss pay for the error…
“I’m not going to lie to you, I was on deck and I kind of put my head down when they hit the ball to second and we got a second life. I was glad to pick the team up right there and get us a bunt.”

Junior infielder Boomer White

On the team playing all phases well…

“It’s a blast and that’s when we know that we’re confident we’re the best team in the country. I think we showed a little bit of that at Mississippi State. We really hit the ball well and pitched well. We were able to battle back from big innings from them (Mississippi State) and you know we did that today. We showed some relentlessness on all phases and it’s a blast to play that way because you know we’re never out of it and every guy who gets their opportunity is going to step up to help.”

Senior pitcher Andrew Vinson

On the outing…

 “The pitches that Coach (Childress) called should get all the credit. (Michael) Barash was doing a great job behind the plate and the offense was out there scoring a bunch of runs. It makes pitching easier when the offense is scoring runs like that.

On the title chance…

 “That’s what we play for all year. It’s what I came here to do. You got to love it when the crowd gets into it out here. It makes it fun to play.”