Game #52: No. 6 Texas A&M 12, Ole Miss 5
Records: Texas A&M (35-17, 19-11), Ole Miss (32-21, 14-16)
WP: Joseph Menefee (6-2)
LP: Drew McDaniel (5-3)
A fourth-inning flare and fourth-inning stoppage propelled No. 6 Texas A&M (35-17, 19-11) to a 12-5 Southeastern Conference Baseball win over No. 20 Ole Miss (32-21, 14-16). Saturday afternoon in Oxford.
Dylan Rock kicked off a three-run home run and Brett Minnich started a grand slam in a seven-run fourth inning to quickly close a 5-2 deficit.
Joseph Menefee (6-2) also threw up four innings of relief to frustrate Ole Miss, who defeated A&M 14-6 on Friday night.
With the comeback win, A&M secured first place in the SEC West Division and will also be runners-up in next week’s SEC postseason tournament.
“Had to take one hard on the chin yesterday and just carry it. For the most part, that was the formula all year round. We have to change this formula because you have to win more than two games in a weekend.”
– A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle
“Just more of the same,” said Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle. “Had to take one hard on the chin yesterday and just carry it. For the most part, that was the formula all year round. We have to change this formula because you have to win more than two games in a weekend.”
A&M, picked 13th in the SEC last preseason, had already won second place early Saturday afternoon on the back of Alabama’s 18-5 win over Arkansas.
The Aggies held a tiebreak against Arkansas (18-12) by taking two from three in a previous series. However, they made it clear that they didn’t need — and perhaps didn’t want — help from Alabama.
Overall, A&M hit four homers, 13 hits and pulled six walks from five Ole Miss pitchers to win the weekend series. It was the Aggies’ seventh straight win.
Jack Moss delivered a single to collect Trevor Werner, who led the game with a triple. The Aggies added another run on a Troy Claunch RBI in the second.
But solo homers from Hayden Dunhurst and Jacob Gonzalez and a three-run shot from Peyton Chatagnier gave Ole Miss a 5-2 lead after three innings.
It was a short-lived lead.
Ironically, A&M’s fourth inning started with a one-off drag bun by Kole Kaler. Werner followed with a double to put two runners in goal position.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco responded by tapping off starting pitcher Derek Diamond, who had already pitched 68 pitches, with Drew McDaniel (5-3).
McDaniel beat Moss but then faced Rock, who had been the taunt of Ole Miss fans throughout the series. Rock blasted a 2-2 pitch over the midfield wall to forge a 5-5 tie.
Jamie Maury, Tex Ags
Dylan Rock’s three-run blast kick marked his team-leading 16th bombshell of the season.
Apparently in Rock’s shock, McDaniel dropped a single to Austin Bost and went for a walk with Ryan Targac and Claunch.
Minnich then hit a towering flyball that sailed over the left fence for an 11-5 A&M lead.
“Dylan had a great shot,” Schlossnagle said. “Often you end the inning with two outs. We’ve got more guys on bases and Brett’s just had enough of them. That’s probably not a homer in too many stadiums. But we met the conditions and did well.”
Menefee made sure the rebels wouldn’t start a comeback.
He replaced starter Ryan Prager in third place with two hits and a full score for Hayden Dunhurst. Menefee defeated Dunhurst but then gave up Chatagnieri’s home run.
However, Menefee was brilliant afterwards. He only allowed three hits, one walk and knocked out six.
Menefee eventually gave way to Jacob Palisch with an out and an on in seventh place. Palisch promptly prompted Ole Miss power hitter Tim Elko to double play.
Palisch was replaced by Robert Hogan in eighth place with two outs and an on. Hogan forced a groundout from Chatagnier to end the inning.
“Super proud of our lads today… the lads who went up against such a great line-up today,” said Schlossnagle. “The wind is blowing, every single blow feels like a threat to leave the stadium.
“I thought we had made some really nice games. Moo (Menefee) comes in with a 3-2 count for a strikeout. Two big double cues were great.”
“Boys kept playing, kept believing, bought into a system, bought into a culture. Hopefully we’re not done yet. We have a lot more baseball to play.”
– A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle
Ole Miss’s fading hopes of a dramatic comeback vanished at the top of ninth place. Ryan Targac hit a two-run home run and Jordan Thompson added a solo shot for the 12-5 lead.
Aide Will Johnston came and set off the Rebels to end the win at the end of the ninth.
It also ended a notable regular season resurgence.
A&M struggled early. The Aggies lost a February series to Penn and entered the SEC game with a modest 10-6 record. They also had to overcome key injuries.
Her turnaround was nothing short of amazing.
“Guys kept playing, kept believing, bought into a system, bought into a culture,” Schlossnagle said.
“Hopefully we’re not done yet. We have a lot more baseball to play.”