COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Jose Duran went 4-for-5 with a home run and Texas A&M pitching allowed only four hits as the Aggies completed an undefeated weekend with a 7-4 win over Louisiana Tech to wrap up the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic before 3,649 fans Sunday afternoon at Olsen Field.
The victory was A&M’s sixth in a row as the Aggies improved to 7-2 on the season and 3-0 in the Classic. Tech fell to 6-3 and 0-3 on the weekend.
“We had a really good week,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “After last weekend’s performance against Northern Colorado, I feel like we got better offensively as the week went along. On the other side, to hold (Louisiana Tech) to four hits today is surprising to me, because they have a very good offensive team.”
Duran’s day, which also featured some flashy defense, capped a weekend which saw him take home the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. The junior finished the weekend hitting .538 with seven hits and four runs scored along with the home run and a pair of RBI. Five Aggies—Duran, Luke Anders, Kyle Colligan, Kyle Thebeau and Travis Starling—earned all-tournament honors.
With a strong south wind blowing straight out to center, the teams combined for five home runs. Texas A&M hit three solo shots—Dane Carter in the first, Jose Duran in the third and Brodie Greene in the fourth—while Bulldog center fielder Adam Cobb homered twice. His solo shot in the first and three-run blast in the fifth accounted for all four Louisiana Tech runs and two of the Bulldogs’ four hits on the afternoon.
After the two first-inning long balls left the game tied, Aggie center fielder Kyle Colligan put A&M ahead again with a two-out, two-run double that hit the base of the wall in left center to score left fielder Keith McInnerney.
The Aggies used some strong defense in the bottom of the second to hold the lead. After a lead walk, third baseman Chris Kersten flared a ball behind third base in foul territory, where Duran laid out to make the catch for the first out—on which the runner moved into scoring position. The next batter, right fielder Clint Stubbs, ripped a ball to the left center field gap, but McInnerney raced over and made a leaping catch to rob Stubbs of a double and an RBI. Starting pitcher Scott Migl then struck out the final batter to end the threat.
Leading 4-1 through four innings, A&M pushed three runs across in the top of the fifth.
After a hit batsmen, single and throwing error set runners up on second and third with one out, first baseman Luke Anders drove in his third run of the weekend with a single to left. Catcher Brian Ruggiano then laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score Duran. Pinch hitter Nick Fleece followed with an RBI single to left, making the score 7-1.
With a runner at first and two outs in the Tech fifth, left fielder Patrick Thomas rolled a ball to the left side of the mound. Migl tried to backhand the ball but could not control it, and the error allowed Thomas to reach safely. Cobb then followed with the three-run home run to pull the Bulldogs to within 7-4, but that would be the final runs of the game.
Migl (1-0) was impressive in his second start of the season, picking up the victory while going 5 1/3 and allowing three hits, four runs (one earned), three walks and fanning four batters. Following the leadoff home run in the first by Cobb, the Aggie sophomore righty retired 10 of the next 11 batters, allowing only a walk sandwiched in the middle.
Once again the Texas A&M bullpen stepped up, as Kevin Cravey and Travis Starling combined for 3 2/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief. Starling tossed the final two innings to pick up his second save of the weekend and third of the season.
Louisiana Tech starter Jericho Jones (2-1) was tagged with the loss, lasting 4 1/3 and giving up seven hits and six runs (five earned). He walked one and fanned three.
“I’m glad we won the tournament, but I was disappointed we weren’t able to finish the game,” Childress said. “Louisiana Tech came back and took the momentum from us in the fifth inning, and then (Tech LHP Andrew Lassere) came in there and stuck it to us. We were lucky that Cravey and Starling came in there and pitched the way they did, because Tech held the momentum the rest of the way out.”
On the weekend, Texas A&M hit .353, averaged 10 runs per game and pounded out four doubles, four triples and five home runs.
The Aggies return to action on Tuesday night when they open a mid-week series with Nicholls State (1-7). First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised live by COX Sports TV. Check local listings for station and airtime nearest you.
POSTGAME NOTES: Sunday marked the 17th anniversary of the last time the two schools met on the diamond…the last meeting was on March 2, 1991, a 5-1 A&M win at Olsen Field… A&M now leads the all-time series with Louisiana Tech, 24-7…the three home runs by A&M batters marked the second multi-HR effort of the season (and of the weekend)…the Aggies hit two long balls against Arkansas on Saturday and have now homered five times in the last two games… Dane Carter extended his career-best hit streak to seven games…Kyle Colligan’s double pushed his hit streak to five games…Game-time weather was 77 degrees with cloudy skies and strong winds (20-30 mph) blowing out to center.
DOMINO’S PIZZA CLASSIC RECAP:
FRIDAY: Arkansas 9, Louisiana Tech 8; Texas A&M 8, Ohio State 5
SATURDAY: Ohio State 7, Louisiana Tech 4; Texas A&M 15, Arkansas 7
SUNDAY: Arkansas 8, Ohio State 6; Texas A&M 7, Louisiana Tech 4
FINAL STANDINGS: Texas A&M 3-0; Arkansas 2-1; Ohio State 1-2; Louisiana Tech 0-3.
DOMINO’S PIZZA CLASSIC ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
C Ryan Cisterna Arkansas
INF Chris Kersten Louisiana Tech
INF Jose Duran* Texas A&M
INF Luke Anders Texas A&M
INF Ryan Meade Ohio State
OF Adam Cobb Louisiana Tech
OF Kyle Colligan Texas A&M
DH Aaron Murphree Arkansas
P Kyle Thebeau Texas A&M
P Dean Wolosiansky Ohio State
P Cliff Springston Arkansas
P Travis Starling Texas A&M
* most valuable player