COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies allowed two runs in the ninth inning, falling to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 6-4, in the night cap of a doubleheader Saturday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
With the win, Alabama improved to 22-9 overall and 8-4 in SEC action. Texas A&M dropped to 19-14 overall and 5-7 in league play.
Alabama struck first with a run in the top of the third inning. Hunter Webb poked a double down the leftfield line and a bunt single by Georgie Salem put runners on the corners. Mikey White plated Webb with a fielder’s choice groundout to the shortstop.
The Maroon and White registered an equalizer in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Logan Taylor rattled a triple in the corner down the leftfield line and scored when Ronnie Gideon hit a wall-banger to leftfield, knotting the game at 1-1.
Alabama struck for three runs in the top of the sixth to reclaim the lead. White was hit by a pitch to start the inning, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored with one out when Overstreet punched a single into centerfield. Andrew Vinson came in to relieve A&M starter Tyler Stubblefield and got Wade Wass to fly out to centerfield for the second out of the inning. Austen Smith deposited a 1-0 pitch down the leftfield line to put two runners in scoring position and Chance Vincent plated them both with a single up the middle to give Alabama a 4-1 advantage.
With the help of four Tide errors, the Aggies responded immediately with three runs in the home half of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Blake Allemand launched a 1-1 pitch into the gap in right-center for a leadoff double. Cole Lankford followed with a single to the second base and Allemand came around to score Overstreet’s throw to first drifted wide of the bag. An error by Alabama third baseman Vincent on a grounder by Troy Stein put two Aggies in scoring position.
After Tide starter Jon Keller struck Nick Banks out for the first out of the inning he was replaced by Ray Castillo. Castillo got Hunter Melton to ground to first base, scoring Lankford and a fielding error by Smith put gave the A&M runners on the corners. An infield single by Gideon plated Stein for the game-tying run.
Texas A&M got two runners aboard in the seventh, with Krey Bratsen and Allemand leading off the inning with singles, but Lankford grounded into a double play and Stein bounced out to short with a runner on third to end the inning.
In the eighth, Banks drew a leadoff walk, but Melton was unable to get a sac bunt down and the Aggies were unable to take advantage of a dropped ball by the Alabama rightfielder as Banks was retired at second on Taylor’s fielder’s choice.
Alabama struck out in four of six at-bats in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Tide bats came alive with A&M closer Jason Jester on in the ninth inning. With one out, Vincent doubled to left field and Taylor Poe reached on an infield single to put two runners on. Webb doubled to the warning track in left-center to push Vincent across for the go-ahead run and Poe came around to score on a sacrifice fly by White for the insurance run.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Stubblefield allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over 5.1 innings for A&M. Keller yielded four runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out four over 5.1 innings for Alabama.
Jester (2-2) was saddled with the loss for Texas A&M. He allowed two runs on three hits and one walk in the ninth.
Castillo (1-0) earned the win for Alabama, scattering three hits and one walk over 2.2 scoreless innings.
Gideon paced the A&M offense, going 2-for-3 with one double and two RBI. Allemand was 2-for-4 with one double and one run scored.
Vincent led Alabama at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run and two RBI. Salem went 2-for-4 in the second game.
Texas A&M returns to action on Tuesday when the Aggies host Prairie View A&M in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Head Coach Rob Childress
“I thought our guys competed all day long. It was a real long day out here. Every inning, every pitch mattered all day long for both teams. Both teams left here on empty. Disappointed we didn’t win the second game. Real proud of what we did in the first game. But I thought we competed as hard as we could compete for 18 innings today.”
On Parker Ray’s performance in the first game…
“What a gutsy huge performance. He goes out after we bring him in to finish an inning, he gives up a three run homer. He’s down, dejected, and somehow some way he found enough courage to go out there and have 100 plus pitch relief appearance. You don’t see that very often. Couldn’t be more proud of him, and for our offense for continuing to answer back all day in that first game.”
Senior Relief Pitcher Parker Ray
On his performance in the first game…
“All credit to Alabama. They have a great hitting team, and great starting pitchers over there. They got off to a good start, but our hitters came in through the game and battled well, and got us some clutch runs after the pitching staff kind of gave up the game there. The hitters bailed us out and got us back in the game. We just grinded out the first one. In the second one, we grinded back in it—like the first one—but we were just a little short.”
On if he thought he might be taken out of the game…
“Out of the bullpen, it is always a thought in your head that you’re going to be taken out because you do bad, just because our bullpen is so deep and so talented. You just have to keep focusing on the batter, and throwing strikes and getting outs for the team to get off the field.”