Right fielder Mason Corbett completed a seven-run comeback with a walk-off single to beat Rice 14-13 in Friday night’s fall exhibition game at Blue Bell Park.
In the fall, contests last 14 innings and have time limits for each inning. Games like these are modeled to play as many players as possible to evaluate depth, and don’t just utilize starters for the best chance to win the contest.
After losing several key players from each position last season, A&M looked to reevaluate its returning talent, as well as freshmen and new transfers.
Right-hand pitcher Chrisitan Roa got the ball first for the Aggies, and defended well in the first couple of innings - allowing just a pair of hits and one walk while striking out three batters.
A&M’s lineup capitalized immediately, with four runs to open the exhibition. After the quick runs, the Aggies would not lead again until the end of the game.
After Roa was called back off the mound, the A&M pitching staff would struggle, giving up eight runs through the fourth and sixth innings.
Freshman Blake Mayfield’s debut was the toughest of all, after throwing six straight balls - he would go on to post three walks and four earned runs in 0.0 innings pitched.
“He’s a super-talented pitcher and its the first [game],” A&M coach Rob Childress said postgame. “He got it out of the way and he’ll never the first one again. He needs to learn from that and grow from that. Certainly there were some butterflies and nervousness, [his] first collegiate outing and that’s another reason to have that scrimmage so he can get that out of the way.”
Rice dominated the defensive side of the ball for most of the game, holding the Aggies to just four runs from the second to the tenth inning. In that same span, four pitchers gave up a single earned run to A&M.
For the A&M freshmen, many of them made their debut after the eighth inning, but wouldn’t catch their stride as a unit until the 11th.
Center fielder Logan Britt mounted the comeback with an RBI single, followed by two RBIs in consecutive at bats. After matching the same performance in the 12th with another three runs, the Aggies took the lead 13-12.
“It was really good to see a lot of new players get up there and be aggressive from an offensive standpoint,” Childress said. “[They] played with a lot of confidence and poise defensively.”
After pitcher Will Johnson closed out the 13th with no runs allowed, closer Jake Nelson put the game away in the 14th. Corbett would come up to the plate in the bottom of the 14th and plant a single into right field for an RBI, sealing the game for the Aggies.
“We’ve got to be incredibly motivated to improve here in the next two weeks before the next opportunity to put on the uniform against another team in Sam Houston,” Childress said.
The Aggies will continue its fall slate with a road exhibition match at Sam Houston State on Friday, Oct. 25. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Don Sanders Stadium.
A&M’s regular season schedule debuts against Miami (OH) for the Opening Day series from Friday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 16. The Aggies will face Rice again in the spring as well, with a March 10 date in Houston.