COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Blake Stouffer hit for the cycle for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon to keep No. 10 Texas A&M’s regional championship hopes alive with a 10-4 win over Ohio State.
Stouffer went 4-for-4 with six RBI and two runs scored. He also hit for the cycle on February 23 against Jacksonville State. Prior to Stouffer, the last cycle for A&M was collected by Robert Harris in 1992. The six RBIs increased Stouffer’s total to 83 for the year, and he became just the third Aggie all-time to drive in at least 80 runs in a single season.
With the win, A&M improved to 46-17, while Ohio State ended its season at 38-24. A&M must beat Louisiana-Lafayette tonight at 7 p.m. and Monday at 6:30 p.m. to advance to the Super Regional round. The Cajuns need just one win to advance and end the Aggies’ season.
The Aggies took the early lead in the bottom of the first when Stouffer laced a two-out RBI single to left off Buckeyes’ starting pitcher J.B. Shuck.
Stouffer delivered again with two outs in the third, but this time it was a three-run homer over the wall in left that increased the A&M lead to 4-0. It was his 11th homer of the year and it also plated Kyle Colligan, who singled, and Brandon Hicks, who was hit by a pitch.
Ohio State returned the favor in the fourth when Cory Rupert belted a two-out, two-run homer over the wall in left to cut the A&M lead to 4-2. It was the first of the season for Rupert and it came off A&M starter Kirkland Rivers.
Luke Anders led off the bottom of the fourth with his 11th homer of the year to move the A&M lead to 5-2.
After Rivers walked Jacob Howell and allowed a single to Matt Angle, Gary Campfield took the mound with runners on first and third and no outs. He limited the Buckeyes to a one run on a sacrifice fly by Justin Miller.
Rivers did not figure in the decision and lasted four-plus innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking three.
Stouffer drove in his fifth run of the game in the fifth with a two-out triple to right center that scored Brandon Hicks and Josh Stinson hit a two-run homer, his first of the year, in the sixth to make the score 8-3.
Miller contributed his second RBI of the day with a single in the top of the seventh to score Angle.
An RBI double by Stouffer and a sacrifice fly by Craig Stinson earned the Aggies a six-run lead after seven-complete innings.
Gary Campfield (3-0) threw the final five innings, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.
J. B. Shuck (4-4) lasted five innings plus one batter in the sixth. He allowed six runs on seven hits.
Ohio State head coach Bob Todd
(on Blake Stouffer hitting for cycle) “He’s an outstanding hitter. We scouted him previously and here at the regional and we knew he was a quality baseball player. The amazing thing about what he did today was that we were pitching around him on two of those at-bats. He just capitalized when we made mistakes.”
“Congratulations to Texas A&M. They did a good job today. They took advantage of some of our mistakes. To be honest, we don’t have the firepower to keep up with them. We’re hitting singles and they’re hitting home runs. That made all the difference in the world in terms of production. They had 10 hits and scored 10 runs.”
“I’m proud of what this team accomplished. They had to fight through a lot of adversity. We’ve had some injuries and we lost our best pitcher. We had to improvise with our pitching staff. At the end of the season we had five freshmen in our lineup. The best part of being a freshman is that you will be a sophomore soon. You hope that they develop and get better. I think our future is bright. We’ll have to see what the (MLB) draft does to us, but we could have a strong nucleus coming back next year.”
Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress
“I was proud of the way our guys came out ready to play today. They know where we are as far as the season goes. [Starting pitcher] Kirkland Rivers had a really good start in the heat, and after three innings we were able to build the lead. Ohio State was in the same boat as we were. They didn’t quit. They got back into the game when we walked their lead off hitter twice in the fourth and fifth innings, and they took advantage of that. But we were able to answer offensively.
“[Blake] Stouffer had a great day. Early in the game we got a lot of 2-out RBIs and were able to build the lead. I was proud of how we got after it today.
“[Winning pitcher] Gary Campfield came in and did what we needed him to do, and that was for us not to go back into the bullpen. He was able to finish the game.”
Texas A&M first basman Blake Stouffer (on hitting for the cycle)
“It’s exciting. You’ve got to live for the moment, soak it up. But at the same time, we are focused on tonight, too. It is a great feeling, but we still have some more to do.”