COLLEGE STATION -- Kyle Thebeau threw a complete game and struck out a career-high 13 batters, including the last five he faced on Monday night, to lead No. 10 Texas A&M past Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-2, in the championship game of the College Station Regional.
Thebeau (3-5), making his first start since March 31, did not allow an earned run and scattered seven hits en route to assuring the Aggies’ first trip to the Super Regionals since 2004.
A&M lost to the Cajuns on Saturday night, and had to win three straight to claim the regional championship.
The Aggies (48-17) will now face Rice (52-12), the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, this weekend in a three-game series with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, on the line.
Texas A&M will have a limited number of tickets available for purchase by Texas A&M students with a valid student ID. Student tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 6th at the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center in the Zone at Kyle Field. All other fans should contact the Rice Ticket Office at (713) 522-OWLS or riceowls.cstv.com.
The Aggies struck first with four runs off Louisiana starting pitcher Buddy Glass in the top of the second. Craig Stinson started the inning with his 12th home run of the year and Brian Ruggiano tripled with one out. Ben Feltner successfully sacrifice bunted Ruggiano home and Parker Dalton reached on a two-out error by third baseman Devery Van De Keere. After moving to second on a wild pitch, Dalton trotted home on a double by Dane Carter, who scored on a single up the middle by Kyle Colligan.
A lead double by Blake Stouffer in the third chased Glass from the game. Stouffer advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stinson, but was thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to second baseman Xavier Alexander.
Glass (7-5) lasted two-plus innings and allowed four runs – two earned – on five hits. He struck out two and walked one.
The Cajuns got on the board in the bottom of the third with a pair of unearned runs off A&M starter Kyle Thebeau. With two outs and nobody on, Devon Bourque reached on a fielding error by Ruggiano at third. Xavier Alexander then reached on an infield single and consecutive RBI singles by Nolan Gisclair and Jonathan Lucroy cut the A&M lead to 4-2.
Cajuns reliever Matt Pilgreen held A&M scoreless until the seventh when a run increased the A&M lead to 5-2. Colligan tripled to right center and after Brandon Hicks walked, Stouffer legged out an infield single to plate the run.
Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress
“What a championship baseball game. The first thing I would like to say is congratulations to coach [Tony] Robichaux and ULL. They have an incredible program, and I have the utmost respect for coach Robichaux. They do an incredible job. Their kids play extremely hard. They are well coached. They can flat out pitch. They completed all weekend long, and I feel lucky to have won the game today, and yesterday for that matter.
It was a great game. We had the momentum early. We scored four in the second to chase Buddy Glass. [Relief pitcher Matt] Pilgreen did an incredible job to settle things down. And in the third inning, just like that, we lost the momentum with a three-run swing. We don’t get the call at home plate and then we go back out and give up two unearned runs. Just like that, they just have the momentum back. We were able to keep together strictly because of what [Kyle] Thebeau was doing on the mound. He had an incredible start. I’m very proud for him and the team.
“When [Thebeau] throws strikes, he’s got probably the best stuff on the team. When he throws strikes, he is outstanding. Kyle started the year as a starter and then we moved him to short relief. He had some good outings, some bad innings but he kept his head up the entire time and kept showing up for work every day.”
Texas A&M winning pitcher Kyle Thebeau
(On what was working) “The curveball was working really well. I was throwing a slider that was acting more like a slur. My fastball for the most part was doing what I needed it to do. They got most of their hits off the fastball, but I felt that the location of the fastball was fairly good, and mainly the curveball.
(On staying in the game) “It felt great. All of the pitchers on the team want to take the ball the distance, nine innings every game. I was looking over at Coach Childress and he was on that phone. I was waiting to see what was going to happen, and he left me in.
(On the crowd chanting his name) “They were chanting my name, but for the most part I was trying to focus on the hitters. But I did hear them chanting my name, and I was in awe of that. I couldn’t believe that was happening. I tried to ignore it and focus on the game, but that did pump me up a little bit.”
Texas A&M first baseman Blake Stouffer
(On dog-piling at the end of the game) “It was amazing. We set out from Day 1. We wanted to host a regional and win it, go to a super regional and then Omaha. This was just another accomplishment along the way and shows the kind of team that we have, a team that doesn’t quit and goes out there every day to compete. Where we’ve come from last year to dog-pile is just an amazing feeling.
“Losing that game to Lafayette on Saturday really set up a long road for us, but we competed in all of the games we won. We really picked ourselves up and took one game at a time. This team is so incredibly tough.”
Texas A&M center fielder Kyle Colligan
“After Saturday night, me as well as everybody else had so much more confidence. We knew what we had to do. You could say loss Saturday night knocked us down and humbled us. It put that chip back on our shoulder and it prepared us in order to realize what we had to do in order to get to a Super Regional. It was a lot harder than it was for us at the time. The loss Saturday night in a way humbled us and made us a better team.”
C: Craig Stinson, A&M
1B: Blake Stouffer, A&M
2B: Devan Bourque, UL
3B: Stephen Crawford, LU
SS: Cory Rupert, OSU
OF: Kyle Colligan, A&M
OF: Jacob Howell, OSU
OF: Nolan Gisclair, UL
DH: Matt Angle, OSU
P: Matt Pilgreen, UL
P: Kyle Thebeau, A&M
MVP: Blake Stouffer, A&M
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