COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies dropped the second game of their final series of the regular-season, 4-2, against the Ole Miss Rebels at Blue Bell Park on Friday.
The win clinched the series for the Rebels and earned Ole Miss (40-15, 19-10 SEC) at least a share of the SEC Western Division Title. Texas A&M fell to 32-23 on the season and 13-15 in SEC action.
The first Rebel uprising came in the top of the third. Errol Robinson single dup the middle to start the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Braxton Lee. After Auston Bousfield flied out for the second out of the inning, Austin Anderson was granted a walk by the umpire two put two runners on. Will Allen bounced a single up the middle to plate Robinson for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies’ harvested a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth to take 2-1 lead. For the third consecutive SEC game, Logan Nottebrok it a home run. This time the dinger came on a 1-0 pitch from Ole Miss starter Christian Trent to lead off the inning. Nottebrok belted the ball over the leftfield fence for his eight home run of the season. Nick Banks followed up by snaking a single through the left side of the infield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Moroney. Troy Stein plated Banks with a single up the middle for the go-ahead run.
Ole Miss reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth. Allen bounced another single up the middle on a 0-2 pitch by Aggie starter Grayson Long. With one out, JB Woodman plated Allen with the equalizer, hitting a wall-banger to the gap in right-center for a triple. Will Jamison lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield, knocking in Woodman with the go-ahead run for a 3-2 advantage.
For the second time in four games, the Aggies worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam without surrendering a run. With Matt Kent working in relief, Anderson reached one an error by A&M first baseman Lankford and Allen roped a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. Ahead 1-2 on Orvis, Kent, who had only walked seven batters in 74.2 previous innings in his career, hurled the next three pitches in the vicinity, but couldn’t find the amoeba, loading the bags with Rebel forces. Andrew Vinson entered the game and got Holt Perdzock to ground sharply to Lankford at first starting a 3-2-3 double play. Vinson completed the inning by getting Jamison to swing-and-miss at a 2-2 offering.
The Aggies were tripped up by aggressive base running in the home half of the eighth. With Nottebrok deposited a ball down the rightfield line that Ole Miss second baseman Preston Overbey was unable to make a sliding catch on. The ball kicked to the warning track along the foul line and Nottebrok got on his horse and rounded second to try to stretch the hit into a triple. Rightfielder Jamison corralled the carom and threw to third where Nottebrok beat the throw but had his momentum pull him off the bag for the second out of the inning.
The Rebels tacked on an insurance run in the ninth. Overbey gapped a leadoff single to right-center, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Robinson, moved to third on a single to leftfield by Braxton Lee and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bousfield.
Long (6-2) was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in 6.0 innings.
Trent (8-0) remained perfect on the season, working 5.0 innings plus one batter in the sixth. He yielded two runs on eight hits while striking out two. Scott Weathersby benefitted from two players retired on the base paths as he faced just 11 batters in his 4.0 innings of work to pick up his second save of the season. The runner he inherited in the sixth was caught stealing and Nottebrok was erased at third trying to stretch a double into a triple on the only hit off Weathersby.
The Aggies held a 9-8 advantage in hits, but were unable to draw a walk. Meanwhile, Ole Miss benefitted from four walks and a balk on the evening.
Nottebrook and Birk paced A&M’s offense. Nottebrok went 2-for-4 with one double, one home run, one run and one RBI. Birk was 2-for-4.
Allen led the Ole Miss attack, going 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI.
The Aggies and Rebels wrap up the three-game series on Saturday with a 2:05 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
“When it’s a well-played game, almost like a Friday night game, the mistakes are magnified. Grayson (Long), I thought was really good. He commanded his fastball extremely well. We make two mistakes in the fifth inning. We give up an 0-2 single and an 0-2 triple. Then they get the sac fly and just like that they’ve taken the lead. They come and take an important run in the ninth inning. We’re unable to hang a zero there and just like that we’ve lost the series. Tomorrow will be a big day for us.”
On Nottebrok’s out at third in the eighth…
“It was a hustle play. He was safe at third base. He came off the bag and that’s when he was out. You can’t knock him for a hustle play. Trying to get to third base with one out, and he just came off the bag. That’s baseball.”
Junior Third Baseman Logan Nottebrok
On his home run…
“After yesterday, I left the park 1-4, feeling good about myself. Only God knows what I’m going to do next. Luckily, I hit a home run, but it wasn’t enough for us to get a win tonight. Disappointing loss, I wish we could’ve pulled that one off.”
On his double in the eighth…
“When it came out of his glove, I saw him kick it towards the fence. By that time, I was already halfway to second. I thought I might as well, if I can get there. I tried going to third. I slid in and I was safe at first, then my hand came off at the last second. That’s just baseball. I couldn’t hang on.”