No. 12 Texas A&M baseball defeated No. 19 Auburn 4-1 on Sunday to take the series win 2-1. The win is a meaningful one for the Aggies, helping to get them back on track after struggling in the previous two SEC series matchups.
The Aggies and Tigers both started off the day slow. In the first and second innings, dominant fielding by the Aggies brought an end to both innings with no runs scored and no runners left on base for Auburn.
Auburn matched this performance after stifling the Aggie offense from earning an early lead during their at bats.
In the third, the Tigers managed to gain some traction with a single by freshman infielder Ryan Bliss to start the inning. The single was shortly followed by a single to deep left field to send Bliss, who had made it to third off A&M errors, back to home plate, putting the Tigers up 1-0.
Shutout in the third, the Aggies entered the fourth inning looking for a momentum swing. A single by junior outfielder Cam Blake was a promising start for a stagnant A&M offense, which only recorded two hits in the previous three innings. Junior shortstop Braden Shewmake, who holds a .327 team high batting average, followed this with a single to deep center field.
Junior catcher Mikey Hoehner hit a single to left field to drive in Blake, scoring the Aggies’ first run of the game. But a three-run home run by A&M’s junior outfielder Logan Foster brought home the win for the Aggies.
“He threw me a fastball, and I was hunting fastball,” Foster said. “In those situations, we practice that all the time with a runner on third and less than two outs. You just got to put your best swing on the ball and not let him get a first strike. Today as an offense we were fully committed to our approach.”
In the fifth, Auburn’s offense began to gain momentum, with hits by Steven William and Will Holland to put two runners in striking distance for the Tigers. With two on base and two outs, the Aggies called for a pitching change. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Bryce Miller took the mound and ended the inning with a single pitch.
Pitching changes for the Aggies proved to be a key theme of the day. Five A&M pitchers were used over the course of the game, each of them performing well when called to the mound .
“Christian [Roa] got us off to a wonderful start and each guy we went to did an amazing job. Just really proud of the toughness our guys showed today,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Each guy we went to got us off the field in some big spots.”
While Roa got the Aggies off to a great start, freshman left-handed pitcher Chris Weber earned the win. A&M’s closer, Kasey Kalich, who was awarded the save, pitched a dominant ninth inning. The sophomore right-handed pitcher had a 1-2-3 inning after striking out the first three batters to close out the game.
Childress said he was proud of his team’s ability to compete against a tough conference opponent like Auburn.
“We’re not hitting on all cylinders right now,” Childress said. “To say that as a team we’re not hitting on all cylinders and still finding ways to win an SEC series is an awfully bold thing to say. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to win SEC games, much less a series.”
With the win, the Aggies move to 27-10-1 on the season and 9-5-1 in SEC play. Auburn takes home the loss and now has a 24-12 overall record and is 8-7 in conference play.
A&M will be back in action on Tuesday to take on the University of Houston at Schroeder Park. The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.