COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies fell to the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels, 3-2, in the regular-season finale on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Saturday.
Texas A&M’s chance to win a share of its first SEC regular-season title ended with the winning run on second base. The Aggies finished third in the standings, one game behind Mississippi State (21-9 SEC) and a half-game behind South Carolina (20-9 SEC).
The Aggies (41-13, 20-10 SEC) played from behind most of the day and went into the ninth trailing the Rebels by one run. After a quick first out, Nick Choruby, J.B. Moss and Boomer White reached with a bunt single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. But, the home team couldn’t muster the magic as Hunter Melton and Ryne Birk were retired with a pop up and a groundout, ending the game and the Aggies’ title hopes.
After the start of the game was delayed 150 minutes due to inclement weather, the Rebels drew first blood.
Ole Miss put the first runs of the game on the board in the second, started by a single from J.B. Woodman, ending a streak of 28 batters in a row retired by Simonds at home. Henri Lartigue and Ryan Olenek followed with singles to send Woodman home for the 1-0 lead.
The Rebels (40-16, 18-12 SEC) added another run in the fourth. Tate Blackman started the frame with a single. Woodman bounced to first where Melton snared the ball and fired to second for the force play. Shortstop Austin Homan tried to complete the double play, but his throw sailed into the Ole Miss dugout to put Woodman on second. He moved to third on a grounder to short by Lartigue and scored on an infield single by Bortles to stake Ole Miss to a 2-0 lead.
After leaving five runners on base through four innings, the Aggies finally pushed a run across in the fifth. Homan drew a seven pitch walk off of starter Chad Smith. Will Stokes came out of the bullpen to face Choruby who pushed Homan to second with a sacrifice bunt. Moss singled through the left side to put runners on the corners and Boomer White sent Homan home with a sacrifice fly.
Ole Miss offered an immediate response in the top of the sixth. Blackman started the inning with a double to left-center. Mark Ecker came on to relieve Aggie starter Kyle Simonds. He got a pair of fly balls, but both were deep enough to advance Blackman a base, scoring on Lartigue’s sac fly for the 3-1 advantage.
The Aggies mounted another rally in the seventh. With one out, Homan gapped a double to left-center and he scored on a single by Moss down the leftfield line.
Trailing 3-2, the Aggies got the winning run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings. With two outs in the eighth, Barash singled up the middle and Nick Banks reached on an error to put runners on the corners, but Jonathan Moroney ended the frame with a grounder to second.
Simonds (8-3) was saddled with the loss for Texas A&M. He yielded three runs, two earned, on seven hits while striking out three in 5.0 innings. Ecker retired all 12 batters he faced in 4.0 innings of work.
Stokes (2-0) picked up the win out of the bullpen, allowing one run on three hits while striking out one over 3.1 innings. Wyatt Short earned his 11th save of the season, scattering two hits and two walks over 1.2 scoreless innings. Smith yielded one run on three hits and four walks while striking out two in 4.0 innings as the starter.
Moss led the Aggies at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. Barash batted 2-for-4. Homan scored both of Texas A&M’s runs. The Aggies were haunted by 12 runners left on base and 2-for-13 hitting with runners in scoring position.
Blackman led Ole Miss at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run and a double.
The Aggies head to Hoover, Alabama for the SEC Baseball Tournament. They begin play Wednesday at 9:30 am Central. Texas A&M plays the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 6 seed Vanderbilt and No. 10 seed Missouri.
Posted at 9:36 PM, May 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-21 22:36:38-04
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