COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Senior Luke Anders hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning and the Farmers added a seven-run ninth to win the decisive fifth game of the Aggie Baseball Fall World Series, 10-2, over the Plowboys and claim the coveted Omaha Cup Wednesday evening at Olsen Field.
With the Plowboys up 2-1 entering the eighth, Dylan Petrich lined a single to left center field with one out to bring Anders to the plate. The senior delivered, lining a pitch just to the right of the batter’s eye in center field for his fourth round-tripper of the fall.
Anders’ heroics and the late run surge complemented a tremendous pitching outing by Brooks Raley. The sophomore allowed both Plowboy runs and all of their three hits on the night in the first inning, before retiring 20 of the next 22 batters he faced.
“Both teams poured their guts out all fall and laid it all out on the line,” Anders said. “I haven’t been part of a fall like this before. It was amazing.”
The teams battled all fall for the cup, a trophy that rewards the squad that compiles the most points throughout the fall in many areas of competition—not only through on-field results, but effort, classroom attendance, academic performance and community service, among others.
The teams entered the final game of the series, and as it turned out the final two innings on Wednesday night, tied 13-13-2 in games played on the field and with 400 Omaha Cup points up for grabs. In the end, the Farmers totaled 1,375 points to the Plowboys’ 1,150.
“When you start talking about the competition these two teams brought day in and day out, from August 25 until the last pitch tonight, it’s very impressive,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “There was extreme disappointment on the Plowboys’ part, and extreme joy for the Farmers, and that tells you it meant something to them.”
Kyle Colligan and Nick Anders doubled in the bottom of the first off Raley, with Colligan scoring on a wild pitch and Anders coming home on an RBI single by Nick Fleece to stake the Plowboys to a 2-0 lead.
Plowboy starter Kyle Thebeau was outstanding, no-hitting the Farmers until third baseman Alex Wilson singled up the middle with two outs in the top of the fifth. He would not factor in the decision but allow the lone hit in five shutout innings in the game.
Dylan Petrich would put the Farmers on the board off reliever Clayton Ehlert in the sixth with an RBI groundout to first to plate Brodie Greene, who had doubled to lead off the frame and moved to third on a wild pitch.
Following the first, the Plowboys would manage just three more baserunners the rest of the game—two on walks in the fourth and one on a throwing error in the sixth. Raley and closer Shane Minks combined to allow one ball out of the infield after the first inning—a fourth-inning foul out down the left field line.
The Farmers sent 12 to the plate in the ninth off reliever Travis Starling, scoring seven times off three hits—although six of the runs were unearned due to a pair of miscues in the inning.
Raley (1-1) lasted 7 2/3 on the night while walking two and fanning four. Minks, who earned the save in all three of the Farmers’ series wins, fanned one in 1 1/3 hitless innings of relief.
Wilson had a game-high three hits on the night for the Farmers, while Anders had a team-best three RBI.
The Plowboys would not have had a chance at the title were it not for heroics at the end of game four, which was picked up in the seventh inning Wednesday afternoon with the score tied at nine. The game had been postponed Tuesday after numerous players had to attend night classes.
Plowboy right fielder Brett Parsons smashed his first home run of the year in the eighth, a one-out, opposite-field, solo shot to left to give his team a 10-9 lead. It would prove to be the game winner, as the Plowboys threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Thebeau picked up the win in game four, tossing the three final innings and allowing two hits and no runs. For the day the senior threw eight innings of three-hit shutout baseball.
The Aggies now turn their sights to the offseason and the 2009 season opener on February 20 against Wright State at Olsen Field. A&M returns 14 letterwinners, four position starters and nine pitchers from a 2008 squad that won the Big 12 regular-season title and the NCAA College Station Regional championship.
“It was a grind in everything they did, and it will continue to be,” Childress said. “There’s a lot of competition going on this fall, and the more you sweat and invest in the program, the more it hurts when you lose and the more it means to you when you win. Now that we can come together as one team, we’ve got a chance to do some great things.”
FALL WORLD SERIES RESULTS:
Game 1: Plowboys 9, Farmers 4
Game 2: Farmers 7, Plowboys 6
Game 3: Farmers 4, Plowboys 2
Game 4: Plowboys 10, Farmers 9
Game 5: Farmers 10, Plowboys 2
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