Aggies Claim 9-5 Win to Open Alabama Series

Posted at 11:07 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 00:07:00-04

The Texas A&M Aggies had another mid-game surge to erase a 5-4 deficit and post a 9-5 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the series opener Thursday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Trailing 5-4, Texas A&M (24-11, 6-7 SEC) reclaimed the lead with a three-run fifth inning. George Janca singled to leftfield to start the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. Janca advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Choruby and came around to score the equalizer when Cole Bedford gapped a double to right-center. Bedford moved to third on a groundout by Braden Shewmake. Hunter Coleman followed with a walk and moved to second on a stolen base to put two runners in scoring position. Alabama shortstop Chandler Avant muffed a sharper grounder by Joel Davis, allowing both runs to score and staking the Aggies to a 7-5 lead.

Avant’s third error of the game allowed Texas A&M to inflate the cushion to 9-5. The Aggies loaded the bases with Choruby singling and stealing second, Shewmake walking and Coleman getting hit by a pitch. Davis once again drove a grounder to short and Avant’s misplay allowed Choruby and Shewmake to cruise home.

The Aggies outscored Alabama 5-0 in the fifth and sixth innings and the Maroon and White have now outscored foes by a combined 91-21 in those two frames this season.

Early Texas A&M hits and Alabama miscues led to a four-run first inning for the Aggies. Choruby led off the frame with a triple and scored when starting pitcher Jake Walters’ pickoff attempt was wide of the bag. With one out, Shewmake drilled a single to leftfield and stole second base. After Coleman drew a base on balls, a wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. Davis smacked a single to centerfield to plate Shewmake and Coleman came around to score when centerfielder Logan Carey booted the ball. Walker Pennington plated the last run of the inning with a double down the rightfield line, knocking in Davis for the 4-0 advantage.

Chandler Taylor shaved the lead to 4-1 with a solo home run, launching a one-out, first-pitching offering over the centerfield fence for his ninth dinger of the year.

The Crimson Tide slashed two more runs off the margin in the third. With one out, Avant blooped a 1-2 pitch to leftfield for a second. With two outs, Cobie Vance punched a hit over the glove of a diving Austin Homan at short to put runners on the corners. Both runs came home when a slicing line drive to rightfield by Hunter Alexander dove under the glove of Pennington for a triple, cutting the lead to 4-3.

Alabama (14-20, 2-11 SEC) wrangled the advantage away in the fourth inning. Taylor drew a leadoff walk and Tanner DeVinny singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. Short’s single to leftfield tied the game and Avant’s single to rightfield gave the Crimson Tide a 5-4 margin.

Texas A&M starter Brigham Hill labored through 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out five.

The Aggie bullpen stretched their scoreless inning streak to 20.1 innings. Cason Sherrod (4-1) earned the win, scattering one hit and one walk while striking out one in 3.1 innings and he stranded the two runners he inherited in the fourth. Kaylor Chafin closed out the game by retiring all six batters he faced, including three strikeouts.

Offensively, the Aggies pounded out 10 hits, including two each by Choruby and Pennington.

Walters (4-4) was saddled with the loss, yielding seven runs, four earned, on seven hits and four walks while striking out one in 4.2 innings.

Avant and Kyle Kaufman each had two hits for Alabama, but they were doomed by five errors.

The series continues Friday night as the squads meet in a 6:02 pm contest at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.


Head Coach Rob Childress

On responding after falling behind 5-4…

“We scored the four early and it was looking good, but then it turned into what you expect in the SEC in a series opening game. It’s always a prize fight. We took their punch, dug in and fought back. We did a good job of hitting the ball hard, taking some free bases with the walk and taking advantage of their mistakes. The bullpen was outstanding again. It was a good win to start a road series.”

On the bullpen’s string of 20.1 consecutive scoreless inning…

“They’re throwing strikes. And they’re not giving up free bases with the walks. They’re really attacking the hitters. They know how to be successful now, it’s just a matter of them continuing go do what they’re doing.

Junior RHP Cason Sherrod

On his outing…

“When I came in in the fourth (with two on), I knew it was a big spot. I just wanted to get us off the field and let our offense get after it. They kept fighting and got some scrappy runs in the fifth and kept rolling from there. And I just kept attacking.”

On the bullpen’s recent success…

“Everybody is just coming out and doing their thing. We’re getting ahead in the count and let the defense work behind us. We’ve been playing some great defense the last couple of games. We just have to keep it rolling.”