COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The 12th-ranked Texas A&M men’s tennis team kept seventh-ranked Georgia on a short leash, 4-1, on Friday evening in front of 686 fans at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. Despite the early rain, the Aggies and Bulldogs played an exceptional match on a beautiful evening. A&M improves to 17-5, 6-1 in conference play while UGA suffers its first setback in SEC action, moving to 12-6 overall and 7-1 in conference.
“Tonight was an awesome night for college tennis,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Beating Georgia, a great team this year just like they always are with a hall of fame coach, is great for this team and great for our program. I thought our guys came out and were ready to play despite the two hour rain delay.”
Georgia claimed a 1-0 advantage after Jordan Szabo fell to Hernus Pieters, 6-2, 7-5, on court six. Both sides held serve through the entirety of the second set before Pieters broke the junior from Australia to clinch the match.
After the loss at No. 6, A&M would swing the momentum of the match, with the Maroon and White claimed all six singles sets decided afterwards.
Harrison Adams quickly evened the match for the Aggies at the No. 1 line after he knocked off 18th-ranked Austin Smith 6-3, 7-6 (5). The sophomore claimed the final three games in the first set and the tiebreaker en-route to the victory.
Jeremy Efferding expanded the Aggies lead to 2-1 after holding off 72nd-ranked Ben Wagland, 7-5, 6-4, at the No. 3 line. The 52nd-ranked player from Boca Raton jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set and broke Wagland to claim the final point.
Shane Vinsant, the nation’s 26th-ranked player, ousted 39th-ranked Nathan Pasha in two tiebreakers, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) at the No. 2 line to put A&M ahead 3-1. The sophomore built a 4-1 lead in the first-set tiebreaker while claiming the final four points in the second-set tiebreaker.
“Shane started a little slow and was a little tight early on but he fought back to win the first set after being down 4-1,” Denton said. “He played really well in the tie breaker and served really well after falling behind a couple breaks in the first set.”
Jackson Withrow secured the upset for the Maroon and White despite dropping the first set at the No. 5 line. The junior claimed a tiebreaker victory in the second set before cruising through the third set for the 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3, win.
“Jackson really stepped up big for us tonight,” Denton added. “He has not played in the last couple matches, but when we needed him tonight the captain stepped up and clinched the win for us tonight. To come back and play well after dropping the first set showed great effort.”
The Aggies welcome 20th-ranked Tennessee to the Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday at 1 p.m. Stay tuned to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter for coverage of Texas A&M men’s tennis.
No. 12 Texas A&M def. No. 7 Georgia, 4-1
Texas A&M (17-5, 6-1); Georgia (12-6, 7-1)
No 1 – #13 Harrison Adams (TAMU) def. #18 Austin Smith (UGA) 6-3, 7-6 (3)
No 2 – #26 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. #39 Nathan Pasha (UGA) 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3)
No 3 – #52 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) def. #72 Ben Wagland (UGA) 7-5, 6-4
No 4 – Junior Ore (TAMU) vs. #75 Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-5 (unfinished)
*No 5 – Jackson Withrow (TAMU) def. #117 Nick Wood (UGA) 4-6, 7-6 (2)
No 6 – Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Jordan Szabo (TAMU) 6-2, 7-5
Order of finish: Singles (6, 1, 3, 2, 5)
*clinched the match