COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M clinched the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic championship with a 15-7 win over Arkansas Saturday night before a season-high crowd of 6,371 fans at Olsen Field.
The victory was the Aggies’ fifth in a row as they improved to 6-2 and 2-0 in the tournament. Arkansas (5-1) suffered its first loss of the season and is 1-1 on the weekend.
After totaling nine two-out RBI over the first seven games of the season, A&M got six against the Razorbacks on Saturday. In total, eight of the Aggies’ 15 runs on the night scored with two outs.
“We got a lot of big two out hits with runners in scoring position by some guys that we need to get those big hits,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “I feel like we’re getting a lot closer to doing what we want to do offensively, and that’s hitting and running and running a pressure offense. When that doesn’t work we have to be able to swing the bats, and at times we did that tonight.”
After a first-inning Arkansas run, Aggie center fielder Kyle Colligan led off the game with a home run to center, his first of the year. The Razorbacks answered with one run in the top of the second, but an RBI triple by catcher Brian Ruggiano and a sacrifice fly by Darby Brown in the bottom of the inning gave A&M a lead they would not relinquish.
Leading 3-2 entering the bottom of the third, Texas A&M sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs—all coming with two outs.
Colligan began the inning by chopping one to third baseman Andrew Darr, who knocked the ball down and threw wide of first base, allowing the Aggie center fielder to advance to second. Two outs later, Colligan came home on an RBI single to right by shortstop Jose Duran. After first baseman Luke Anders was hit by a pitch, Ruggiano singled through the left side to plate Duran and give A&M a 5-2 lead and chase Razorback starter Kendall Korbal.
Brown then ripped the first pitch he saw at UA shortstop Tim Smalling, who moved to his left and knocked the ball down, but could not recover to make a throw. The RBI single drove in Anders and, after a wild pitch scored Ruggiano, right fielder Brodie Greene doubled off the top of the wall in left center field to bring home Brown and make the score 8-2 in favor of the Aggies.
After the Razorbacks had scored three in the fourth to cut the lead to 8-5, A&M sent nine to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and scored four times in what would essentially put the game away. A two-run Stouffer single was the big blow in the inning. Stouffer drove another run home in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
Arkansas pinch-hitter Jacob House hit a two-run home run to right in the top of the eighth, but Aggie catcher Kevin Gonzalez countered that with a two-run blast of his own, the first of his career, off the scoreboard in left center to cap the scoring.
A&M true freshman starter Barret Loux lasted just two innings on the night, but was picked up by classmate Brooks Raley (1-0), who went five innings and allowed four hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks—while fanning five batters—to pick up his first career victory.
“For the second night in a row our bullpen picked us up,” Childress said. “I thought Brooks Raley did a nice job, with the exception of the fourth inning. He was really good, and then Hank (Robertson) did what he is supposed to do in the eighth and ninth—and that’s pound the strike zone.”
Korbal (0-1) suffered the loss for the ‘Hogs, going 2 2/3 and giving up five hits and seven runs (three earned) while striking out one.
Duran matched a season high in hits on the night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI. In all, four Aggies—Duran, Colligan, Anders and Ruggiano—had two or more hits. Stouffer drove in a game-high three runs, while Colligan, Ruggiano, Gonzalez and Brown all tallied two RBI.
The Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic concludes on Sunday with a pair of games. At 11 a.m., Arkansas will face Ohio State. Then, at 3 p.m., Texas A&M will host Louisiana Tech. Sunday’s first game will be televised live by COX Sports, while CST will air the finale on a tape-delay basis later in the evening. Check local listings for the station and airtime nearest you.
POSTGAME NOTES: The tournament championship is the 12th for Texas A&M in the 16 years the event has taken place…The Aggies tripled for the fourth consecutive game, the first time that has happened since a four-game span from March 3-7, 1998…Kyle Colligan’s home run leading off the game for the Aggies was the first lead-off home run of his career…A&M hit three home runs leading off the game last season, all by Brandon Hicks (the last on April 3, 2007 vs Texas State)…the long ball was Colligan’s first of the season and 14th overall…Colligan also scored a career-high four runs on the night and extended his hit streak to four games…Dane Carter extended his career-best hit streak to six games…Blake Stouffer hit safely in his fourth straight game…the Aggies’ 15 runs is the second most they have ever scored in the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic…A&M’s all-time run record in the tournament is 16 (vs Maine, March 14, 1989)…it also marked the most runs the Aggies have scored since a 15-5 win over Jacksonville State last season (Feb. 23)…Saturday’s crowd of 6,371 was a season-high…it was also the largest non-conference game crowd at Olsen since Feb. 25, 2005 (7,669 vs Washington in season opener)…A&M now leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 38-29-1, and has won two straight…the 15 runs tied an all-time high for A&M against Arkansas…the Aggies scored 15 runs in a pair of games against the Hogs in 1974…Game-time weather was 76 degrees, clear skies, and winds blowing out to center at 5-10 mph.
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: Ohio State vs Arkansas, 11 a.m.; Texas A&M vs Louisiana Tech, 3 p.m.
RECORDS: Texas A&M 2-0; Arkansas 1-1; Ohio State 1-1; Louisiana Tech 0-2.