COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas scored a single run in the eighth and added a two-run home run in the final frame to push past No. 7 Texas A&M, 6-3, Sunday afternoon in the regular-season finale before 6,832 fans at Olsen Field.
But, the Aggies are still the undisputed Big XII champions thanks to Oklahoma's 10-to-4 win over Oklahoma State Sunday.
With the loss, the Aggies concluded their best regular season in nine years at 42-14.
The Big 12 title is A&M’s third regular-season crown in the league and fourth overall, after taking the postseason championship in 2007.
“We told our team that 56 games are now in the books and we now move on to the postseason,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Our goals are still out there in front of us. We just need to go out there, take it one game at a time, and bounce back. We played just good enough to lose in every game this weekend. Texas made the most of its opportunities—they got the big hits and went the entire weekend without making a mistake defensively. You have to give them credit.”
In another tight ballgame played between the rivals, the Longhorns (34-19, 15-12) scored what would be the decisive run in the eighth inning.
With the score tied at three, designated hitter Michael Torres doubled off the base of the wall in right center field, and moved to third when the A&M outfield had trouble picking the ball up off the carom. The next batter, Tucker, cashed in the run with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Left fielder Russell Moldenhauer added some insurance with a two-run home run to right with one out in the ninth.
The Aggies would rally with a pair of one-out singles, but Cole Green was able to get the final two outs to seal the victory.
Both starters pitched well but did not factor in the decision. Clayton Ehlert went six innings for the Aggies and allowed six hits, three runs (all earned) and one walk while striking out file. UT’s Kenn Kasparek lasted 6 1/3, giving up five hits, three runs (all earned) and a pair of walks while fanning six.
Kyle Thebeau (5-4) suffered the loss for A&M. In two innings of work, the junior allowed only the Torres double and the one unearned run. He fanned three and did not walk a batter.
Green (3-4) issued three hits in 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief while walking two and striking out two.
The Aggies took an early lead with a pair of runs in the third. Following a one-out walk to Kevin Gonzalez, Kyle Colligan doubled him home with a shot into the left center field gap. Blake Stouffer followed that with a two-strike single through the right side to plate Colligan and give A&M a 2-0 advantage.
Texas responded in the next half inning. Tucker and Jordan Danks both doubled to left, putting runners in scoring position with no outs. Kyle Russell and Brandon Belt followed with consecutive sacrifice flies to tie the game at two.
The teams would trade solo home runs, courtesy Russell and Colligan, in the sixth inning to make the score 3-3.
Colligan, Jose Duran and Brodie Greene paced the A&M offense with two hits apiece on the day, while Colligan drove in a pair of runs. Moldenhauer led Texas with three hits.
“We are disappointed, but I told our guys to have some perspective,” Childress said. “If we had finished the year winning 16 in a row to clinch a share of the Big 12 title, how would they feel? What I want our players to do is look at the big picture and the entire body of work. Sure it doesn’t feel good the way we finished, but we still went 19-8, and that’s pretty good. That’s the way we are going to look at it. We will get on the bus tomorrow and head to Oklahoma City, and I know every one of us will head up there expecting to play well and win the Big 12 Tournament.”
Texas A&M returns to action on Wednesday when the Aggies open play in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Oklahoma City’s AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. A&M will be either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the round-robin, pool-play format, pending the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game. Game time and opponent are still to be determined, and information will be posted later this evening on aggieathletics.com and big12sports.com.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• With at least share of the regular-season championship in tow, Texas A&M has won its third Big 12 championship and fourth Big 12 title overall…along with ’08, A&M captured regular-season crowns in both 1998 and 1999, along with the postseason tournament championship in 2007.
• The conference championship is the Aggies’ 21st overall and 18th of the regular-season variety…A&M won 15 Southwest Conference crowns and two SWC tourney titles.
• At 42-14, the Aggies posted their best regular-season record since 1999 (44-12)…A&M was 41-15 at the end of the regular season in both 2003 and 2007.
• The 19 Big 12 wins tied for the most ever by an A&M team since the league adopted the 27-game format in 2002…the ’03 Aggies also finished the year at 19-8…the 19 wins are also tied for third most in school history behind the 1999 (23-6) and 1998 (21-9) squads.
• With a crowd of 6,832 at Olsen Field on Sunday, Texas A&M finishes the regular season with a total attendance of 159,729.
• Jose Duran has now hit safely in 25 of his last 26 games.
• Game-time temperature was 86 degrees with clear skies and winds blowing out to right center at five miles per hour.