Texas A&M baseball had its first chance at sweeping an SEC opponent on Sunday against Georgia after defeating the Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday. But the Aggies fell short after dropping game three 6-4 thanks to a four-run seventh inning by Georgia.
A&M coach Rob Childress said although the team is happy to win a conference series, to let one slip away like the one on Sunday stings after being in a great position to get the sweep.
“Anytime you win a conference series in the SEC you’ve got to feel good about it,” Childress said. “[The] disappointing part is having a chance for a sweep with a 4-1 lead going into the seventh [inning] and not being able to come away with a win.”
Junior Chris Weber took the mound for his sixth appearance of the year. The southpaw’s last couple outings were rough, giving up five runs and six hits in his last four innings. But he was able to bounce back and deliver four strong innings on Sunday as the Aggies’ offense had some big hits to jump out to lead in the middle innings against Georgia starting pitcher Jonathan Cannon.
Cannon and Weber delivered scoreless first and second frames to start the day as Georgia logged the only hit for both teams. Then in the third, freshman Kalae Harrison singled home Mikey Hoehner with one out to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead before the Bulldogs quickly tied it back up in the fourth with a two-out single from Chaney Rogers.
But A&M jumped back on Georgia quickly on offense with three runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning. Senior Will Frizzell was the one to bring home A&M’s second run with a two-out RBI-single that put runners on second and third for junior Austin Bost, who scored Bryce Blaum who represented the third Aggie run. The fourth run crossed home off a one-out 0-2 single by Ray Alejo.
Junior Ty Coleman, who went 5-of-12 at the plate in the series with four RBIs, a pair of home runs and four runs scored said he likes the trajectory the offense and defense have been going at over the last week.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction as an offense, and defensively we’re doing really well,” Coleman said. “So moving forward I really like the progress and big strides that we’ve made.”
A&M’s pitching staff was very strong through six innings of work as Weber came out after pitching 4.1 innings and allowing one run on five hits, walking none and striking out four on 62 pitches. Sophomore Mason Ornelas, who owned a season ERA of 2.87 coming into Sunday, worked hitless fifth and sixth innings in relief as Georgia was held to just five hits entering the seventh.
Weber said the players were disappointed when they found out Bryce Miller, the team’s usual No. 2 in the weekend rotation, would be missing due to COVID-19 protocols but that it made him want to help out his team even more when he learned he would be starting Game 3.
“It was definitely a huge blow to the team finding out that we weren’t going to have Bryce this weekend,” Weber said. “I just wanted to do my best and help out my team and get us off to a good start today.”
Then the Bulldogs found their offense in a big way as they nearly batted around the order in the seventh frame, sending eight men to the plate who collected four hits and four runs to take a 5-4 lead.
With two men out, the Bulldogs’ two-out rally began as two more consecutive Georgia singles tied the game at four before Magers’s last batter he faced walked to load the bases. A wild pitch from sophomore Will Johnston gave Georgia it’s fifth run, which quickly turned into six after a solo home run in the eighth inning off the bat of Joshua McAllister.
Childress said there were self-inflicted mistakes that cost the Aggies in the seventh inning on the mound, but still liked what he saw from his team in it’s second conference series of the season.
“You look back at that inning – leadoff walk, a two-out walk, a wild pitch – that ends up being the difference in the game for us today,” Childress said. “We certainly did a lot of things right to be in a 4-1 position – I feel encouraged about the weekend certainly.”
The Aggies could not come back and get a chance to sweep the Bulldogs as they were limited to only one hit over the eighth and ninth innings, with the final score reading 6-4 Georgia. The loss dropped A&M to 17-9 on the season.
The Aggies will have to flip the page quickly as they welcome the No. 10 Texas Longhorns on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. from Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, where it will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN U. The maroon and white will then travel to Columbia, Mo., for a three-game set against the Tigers beginning on April 1 at 6:30 p.m.