Both the aces of their respective staffs gave maximum effort and performance Thursday night in Texas A&M’s 4-0 win at Ole Miss. Rebel head coach Mike Bianco said Trent was as good as he had been all season. And it wasn’t enough to offset what Long had just done.
“I thought both guys were tremendous,” he said. “I don’t know if (Trent) has pitched better all year long. That’s why (the Aggies) are good. They didn’t get a lot of hits, but they got all the big hits.”
Long’s performance, allowing only two hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts, was a thing of beauty, especially if you were on the A&M side. The Aggies were coming off a series loss to South Carolina and even with their stellar record had lost three of their last four Southeastern Conference series.
But it was tough for the Rebels to do anything against Long, pitching through seven innings and turning it over to Andrew Vinson who picked up right where Long left off. Vinson pitched the final two innings and allowed nothing with one walk and four strikeouts.
“Long did a really good job. He really went after us with the fast ball,” said Ole Miss catcher Austin Knight who, along with J.B. Woodman, had the one hit and those two were it for the Rebels. “It’s like Brady Bramlett’s fastball. It really gets on you and you have to be ready for it or you look up and it’s by your bat.”
It was a scoreless game until the Aggies finally broke through with a run in the fifth inning. They would add one in each of the next three innings.
The Aggies got three hits to get on the scoreboard in the fifth following a RBI double by Logan Nottebrok. But Trent, in his final start on Swayze Field, got out of the inning with only one run scored and stranding runners at second and third.
Ryne Birk sent one out of the park in the sixth, and that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead. Texas A&M tallied two more runs in each of the next two innings to close out the scoring.
The Aggies moved to 43-9 overall and 18-9 in the SEC, while Ole Miss fell to 29-25 and 14-14.
Trent (7-6) worked through 6.2 innings (3 runs, 6 hits, 6 strikeouts, 0 walks) and gave his team a chance. So did Jacob Waguespack who relieved him for an inning and a third, and Drake Robison who pitched the ninth.
Long is now a perfect 9-0 this season for the Aggies.
“I thought he was really good and kept a really good offensive team off balance tonight,” Bianco said of Trent. “And then he was able to pitch out of trouble the way he did.”
Bianco said Texas A&M was clutch and the Rebels couldn’t come up with that big hit when needed.
“It seemed like they got all the big hits. That’s why they’re a good club,” he said. “We had three innings in a row where we got a guy to second base. But we couldn’t get them in.”
“As an offense tonight we were frustrated,” Knight said, “because we weren‘t getting good swings off. (Long) had that fast ball and then he would throw that slider in there. Hats off to him.”
Game two in the series is Friday at 6:30 p.m.
On a health note, Connor Cloyd continues to recover from his strained oblique. But he will not play again Friday night, according to Bianco.
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