COLUMBIA, Mo.—Brooks Raley scored all the way from first on a stolen base attempt in the top of the ninth inning to lift No. 3 Texas A&M to a hard-fought 6-5 win over Missouri Sunday afternoon before 845 fans at Taylor Stadium.
At first after a lead single to center, Raley broke for second on a full-count pitch to Kyle Colligan. The pitch was a called strike, and the throw down by catcher Trevor Coleman skipped just in front of the bag and hit a sliding Raley in the left thigh, kicking all the way into shallow left field. The Aggie left fielder bounced up, sprinted for third and did not stop as third base coach Matt Deggs waved him home, and Raley slid in safely in front of the throw to give A&M a 6-5 lead.
Sophomore Nick Fleece then moved from third base to the mound to close out the game, allowing a one-out single before retiring the final two batters of the game to nail down the victory.
With the win, the Aggies snapped a five-game skid and improved to 14-9 and 3-3 in Big 12 play. Mizzou (11-11, 3-3) saw a three-game win streak come to an end.
Raley’s run capped a good day for the Aggies at the plate that included a three-run home run by true freshman Randall Thorpe—playing in and starting his first game at A&M—and a three-hit day by Kevin Gonzalez, who added a solo blast in the victory.
The Aggies carried a 5-3 lead into the eighth before the Tigers, who had been held in check by Aggie reliever Ross Hales, finally got to the freshman for a pair of runs in the eighth to tie the game at five. Hales had sat down 11 in a row, including the first two of the eighth, but a pair of singles sandwiched around a walk brought in a run to cut the lead to one.
A&M then went to Kyle Thebeau out of the pen, who got a ground ball to short but an error allowed the tying run to score from third. After a walk then loaded the bases, Thorpe made a great catch on a sinking liner near the warning track in right to preserve the tie.
The Tigers struck in the first for the third time this weekend, as a two-out, two-run double to center by Greg Folgia off A&M starter Barret Loux staked Mizzou to an early 2-0 lead.
Ryan Lollis then opened the third for MU with a triple off the base of the wall in center field. One out and a walk later, Lollis would score on an infield ground ball to make the score 3-0.
Gonzalez began the Aggie rally in the fifth with a leadoff single up the middle, and Adam Smith followed with a five-pitch walk. One out later, Thorpe connected on an 0-1 pitch and sent a high drive well over the Mizzou bullpen down the left field line and onto the football practice fields to tie the game at three.
Gonzalez would next step to the plate in the sixth. With two outs and a 1-1 count, the Aggie catcher blasted his third home run of the year—a solo shot just to the left of the center field batter’s eye—to give A&M its first lead of the weekend.
Dylan Petrich’s two-out, line drive single to left center in the seventh would score Kyle Colligan and extend the Aggie advantage to 5-3.
Thebeau (1-1) picked up the win in relief, while Fleece earned the first save of his career.
Hales allowed just the two eighth-inning hits in 3 2/3 innings of work, walking one and striking out five. He was charged with both runs in the frame, with one being earned.
Loux lasted four innings, giving up five hits and three runs while walking three and fanning five.
Mizzou’s Greg Folgia (0-1) was saddled with the loss after facing Raley to begin the ninth and allowing a single. Starter Nick Tepesch fanned nine and walked two over 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs, and did not factor in the decision.
The Aggies return to action on Tuesday when they open up a six-game homestand with UT Arlington (12-10). First pitch at Olsen Field is set for 6:35 p.m.