WACO, Texas—Blake Stouffer’s two-out single in the 11th scored Kyle Colligan from second base and completed Texas A&M’s wildest comeback win in years, as the eighth-ranked Aggies tied the game with a six-run ninth en route to a 13-12, 11-inning win over Baylor Sunday afternoon before 3,737 fans at Baylor Ballpark.
Texas A&M tied a school record with their 12th consecutive league victory, remaining in first place at 15-3 and improving to 33-7 overall. The Bears, who were swept by the Aggies for the first time in Big 12 play, fell to 23-17 and 8-10.
“We told the guys in the dugout there in the eighth inning, ‘Until we get the last out, we’re not done here yet’,” A&M assistant coach Matt Deggs said. “The boys have hearts of a champion, they deserve all the credit. They just have a lot of fight and they did a great job.”
Trailing 12-6 with one out in the ninth, A&M third baseman Dane Carter hit a two-run home run to left center to begin the comeback. Jose Duran followed with a single and moved to third on a double to right by Luke Anders. After Darby Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Brian Ruggiano drove a 1-0 pitch from Baylor reliever Tim Matthews up the middle to plate two and make the score 12-10.
Brodie Greene drew a walk to load the bases again before freshman right fielder Brooks Raley delivered the tying blow—a two-run single to right that scored Brown and Ruggiano and deadlocked the contest at 12. Bear closer Nick Cassavechia came on in relief and got the final two outs to send the game to the bottom of the ninth, where A&M closer Travis Starling retired all three batters in order to move the contest into extra innings.
A&M threatened in the 10th but could not score thanks to a pair of great defensive plays by the Bears. With two on and one out, Darby Brown ripped a single through the right side. Carter tried to score from second but was cut down at the plate on a great throw by right fielder Aaron Miller. The next batter, Ruggiano, lined a ball just inside the third base bag but a leaping catch by Shaver Hansen saved two runs and ended the inning.
Starling quickly retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 10th before a double by Miller put the winning run in scoring position. Starling then got an inning-ending ground ball off the bat of center fielder Paul Miles.
The Aggies broke through in the 11th. After Cassavechia struck out the first two batters of the frame, Colligan punched a 1-1 pitch into left field. A pick-off move had Colligan caught between first and second, but the A&M center fielder evaded the tag and slid safely into scoring position with his ninth stolen base of the season. One pitch later, Stouffer ripped a single to left to drive home the eventual game-winning run.
With one out and Bear shortstop Beamer Weems at first in the bottom of the 11th, catcher Greg Glime smashed a double into the right center field gap. The center fielder, Colligan, slipped on the warning track, then recovered and threw the ball to Stouffer on the lip of the grass near second base. The Aggie second baseman made a perfect one-hop throw to Ruggiano at the plate, who tagged Weems out and preserved the lead.
After an intentional walk to Hansen, the game came to an end on an attempted double steal. Hansen moved towards second, but Stouffer cut the throw down by Ruggiano and started a rundown between third and home. Glime was tagged out trying to slide back into third for the final out of the day.
Starling (6-0) picked up the win after tossing a career-high four innings. The sophomore allowed three earned runs, all coming in the eighth, on three hits while walking three and fanning two.
Jose Duran paced an 18-hit Texas A&M attack, tying a career-high by going 4-for-6. Five other Aggies had at least two hits each while six different players drove in two runs.
Tied at two after four innings, Baylor broke the game open with a four-run fifth. The big blow in the frame was a three-run home run by cleanup hitter Adam Hornung, his fifth of the year, off Aggie reliever Kyle Thebeau.
After the Bears extended their lead to five with a run in the sixth, Colligan hit a two-out, two-run shot to left to pull the Aggies within three. Baylor, however, would respond with two of their own in the inning courtesy a two-run single to right by Glime.
Texas A&M loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth but, on a ground ball to second off the bat of Ruggiano, Brown was called for making contact with Baylor second baseman Raynor Campbell. Ruggiano was ruled out on the play and runners were sent back to second and third, leading to the ejection of Aggie head coach Rob Childress.
Brodie Greene then drove the next pitch into right, plating Duran and Anders and cutting the Bear lead to 9-6. Baylor answered again with three of their own in the bottom of the eighth, setting the stage for the Aggies’ ninth-inning rally.
Cassavechia (0-3) suffered the loss, allowing four hits and one run while striking out three.
“There’s a lot of heart, toughness and belief in this group, maybe as much as any other team I’ve been a part of,” Childress said. “They all believe in each other and there’s no quit in them. They keep taking it at-bat for at-bat, and keep grinding. It’s incredible.”
Texas A&M returns to action Tuesday when the Aggies open a four-game homestand against Texas State. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Olsen Field.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• At 15-3 in Big 12 play, Texas A&M is off to its best “start” in Big 12 history…The Aggies’ 15 league wins are the most since 2003 (19-8).
• The win was the Aggies’ 12th straight in Big 12 play, matching the school record for consecutive conference victories set by both the 1971 and 1974 teams.
• The Aggies have swept four straight league series for the first time since 1971.
• A&M has now won seven consecutive road games for the first time since 1995.
• Texas A&M tied a season high with 18 hits on the day…it was the Aggies’ 24th double-digit hit outing of the year…A&M has reached double figures in the hit column in 11 of 18 Big 12 games in ’08.
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to 10 games…Duran has a base hit in 17 of A&M’s 18 Big 12 games in ’08.
• Dane Carter has now hit safely in 36 of 40 games in ’08 and has reached base safely (hit or walk) in 39.
• Blake Stouffer extended his career-high hit streak to 16 games.
• Kyle Colligan has scored a run in 29 of 35 games played in ’08.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Baylor, 173-127-4, and trails 21-18 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1997…A&M recorded its first sweep of the Bears in Big 12 play and the first conference sweep of Baylor since 1989…the Aggies swept three-game series from the Bears in 1995 and 1996, but the first of four conference games between the schools each of those seasons was played at the SWC First Pitch Tournament in Houston.
• Game-time temperature was 68 degrees with overcast skies and winds blowing out to center at five miles per hour.
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