One week ago, it seemed unlikely that Texas A&M was close to seizing one of their brightest baseball days in nearly a decade. The Longhorns had just handed the Aggies a humiliating sweep, and confidence seemed tested and shallow.
Just one week would cure all of those ills.
Championship Sunday fondly placed itself at the heart of Aggie baseball fans everywhere. The Aggies already had a 5-0 lead when ESPN announced, around 1:30 PM, that they had been named a host site for regional play. Three hours later, the Aggies finished off a tattered and tired Baylor squad to claim the 2007 Big 12 tournament championship.
The Aggies hammered out 20 hits and took advantage of four free passes to score 14 runs in a route of the Bears. The hit parade was attended by just about everyone, as only Ben Feltner, Luke Anders, and Kyle Colligan had less than two hits. Craig Stinson was master of ceremonies, going 4-for-6 with two RBI to sew up his MVP award. Brandon Hicks wasn't far behind with his 4-for-5, two-run and three-RBI performance, while Parker Dalton threw in another three hits and two runs from his nine hole spot. Brian Ruggiano had a pair of hits and scored three runs, and Blake Stouffer also had two hits and a pair of runs scored and RBI.
The 14-6 win gave A&M their first tournament championship since joining the Big 12, as well as the first one since the heralded 1989 team swept through the Southwest Conference tourney. The trophy will be the third on A&M's Big 12 trophy shelf, sitting next to the 1998 and 1999 regular season championships.
After going into hibernation for the better part of the last two weeks, the Aggie bats woke up big-time in the tournament. Rob Childress and Matt Deggs did a significant line-up juggle before Thursday's game, and the results have been all smiles in the Aggie dugout. For the tournament, A&M hit .353 and slugged .482 while reaching base
While the bats were the sexy story, the pitching was very good and lines up well for postseason play. A&M allowed just sixteen runs in the entire tournament, and that average of four per game was more than sufficient with an offense averaging almost seven and a half. The staff was woefully low on the strikeout to walk ratio (walking 22 while striking out 21), but more than made up for that with a aggression and great individual performances.
Numbers ultimately tell the tale, but the biggest story in the Aggie explosion was aggression. A&M stole 11 bases on the weekend, which is huge in and of itself, but doesn't come close to explaining the mental dominance. That aggression, or sometimes just threat of aggression, worked its' way into the opponents' minds and dictated the pace of play. A&M routinely went from first to third on singles to left field, which is usually a baseball faux pas, and the threat of bunts and hit-and-runs kept the fastballs fat and the extra bases rolling.
The Aggies will look to continue that style at the College Station regional at Olsen Field this weekend. Stay tuned to Aggie Websider for continued discussion and the best A&M baseball analysis anywhere.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONS!
Aggie Digest Top Stories
Alabama Post Game: Kevin SumlinThe Texas A&M Aggies lost a hard fought game in Tuscaloosa to Alabama Saturday. Afterwards, head coach Kevin Sumlin met with the media to discuss the game and the future for the…
Aggie DigestYesterday at 7:53 AM
Game Balls: AlabamaThe Texas A&M Aggies couldn't overcome miscues against top ranked Alabama Saturday, picking up their first loss of the season 33-14. Aggie Digest hands out it's 'Game Balls' for…
Aggie DigestSaturday at 5:49 PM
Know Your Foe: Five Questions On AlabamaThe Texas A&M Aggies are heading into their biggest game in recent history, with a chance to become the last unbeaten in the SEC. We "Get To Know" the Crimson Tide with BamaMag.com…
Aggie DigestThursday at 12:59 PM
Chavis Sees Progress, Looking For MoreThe Texas A&M Aggies are set to face off with the top ranked Alabama team in Tuscaloosa Saturday and defensive coordinator John Chavis met with the media Tuesday to discuss the big…
Aggie DigestTuesday at 4:57 PM