STILLWATER, Okla. – Daniel Mengden’s three-run, pinch hit home run in the top of the ninth capped a come-from-behind win for the sixth-ranked Texas A&M baseball team Saturday afternoon at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium as the Aggies defeated No. 22 Oklahoma State 5-4.
With Texas A&M trailing 4-2, Mengden came to the plate with one out and Aggies base runners on first and second. During his first at bat since March 13 against Texas-Pan American, the Houston native crushed a 1-1 pitch from OSU reliever Blake Barnes (5-5) high over the left field fence to give the Aggies their first lead of the day.
It marked the third straight game in the series during which the Aggies rallied to beat the Cowboys despite trailing in the eighth inning or later. Additionally, it was the 11th straight victory for Texas A&M over OSU in a streak that dates back to the 2009 campaign.
Texas A&M concludes the regular season riding a seven-game winning streak with a 41-14 overall record that includes a 16-8 mark in Big 12 play.
The Aggies will stay in the Sooner State and travel to Oklahoma City to prepare for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, which will take place at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark May 23-27. They will face Kansas on Wednesday during the tournament’s opening round.
Texas A&M, which will enter the field as the No. 2 seed, has won the tournament each of the last two seasons with a walk-off home run in the title game and will be aiming to join Nebraska (1999-01) as the only school to win the event in three consecutive years.
In addition to Mengden’s offensive success, senior third baseman Matt Juengel went 2-for-5 in the contest to finish the series with a .467 (7-for-15) batting average in three games against OSU pitching.
Oklahoma State (32-23, 13-11 Big 12) drew first blood during Saturday’s contest as center fielder Saulyer Saxon gave the Cowboys a 2-0 advantage with a two-out, two-run double during the bottom of the second.
The Aggies responded during their next turn at bat as senior first baseman Jacob House tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run bloop single into right field.
Texas A&M starter Rafael Pineda struggled with his command before being pulled after walking the first two batters of the bottom of the third. He was lifted in favor of reliever Corey Ray as the Cowboys retook the lead later in the frame on a run-scoring ground out.
Ray kept the Aggies in the contest, allowing just two hits and one run over four innings of work.
OSU’s lead increased to 4-2 during the bottom of the fourth as Saxon added his third RBI of the day on a single up the middle.
Cowboy starter Randy McCurry kept the Aggie hitters off balance all afternoon long as he struck out a career-high 12 in eight innings of work. However, the right-hander exited after eight innings and 120 pitches as Barnes came on to work the ninth.
Sophomore Jace Statum drew a leadoff walk to kick start the A&M rally and was joined on base by shortstop Blake Allemand, who singled to put runners on first and second as Mengden was announced as a pinch hitter.
Following his heroics in the top of the ninth, Mengden took the pitching mound and after allowing the first two men to reach base the freshman rebounded to strikeout three straight batters and record his third save of the year.
Sophomore reliever Parker Ray (2-1) picked up the win for the Aggies as he recorded the final two outs of the bottom of the eighth.