After failing to capitalize on four errors, and stranding a small army on the bases in Saturday night's loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas A&M entered Sunday afternoon in the losers bracket of the College Station regional. They had to win two games to keep their season alive and force a decisive championship game on Monday night at Olsen Field.
Thanks to timely hits and outstanding pitching efforts all day long, the Aggies did just that.
"That was an extremely long day but it was a lot of fun," said A&M head coach Rob Childress. "I'm proud of the way our guys got after it all day long. The first game was extremely hot, and took a lot out of us. And to come back and play the way we did tonight, I was really proud of our team."
The only thing hotter than the weather during the first game of the day was the bat of Blake Stouffer, who took advantage of every mistake that Ohio State served up. After hitting a single, home run and triple in his first three at bats, the entire Olsen Field crowd was cheering for a shot in the gap. Stouffer delivered and advanced to second to complete the cycle for the second time this year.
Despite the gaudy offensive numbers generated by aluminum bats, only two players in the history of college baseball have ever hit for the cycle twice in the same year, and the last Aggie to successfully hit for the cycle was Robert Harris in 1992. Stouffer finished the first game 4-for-4 with six RBI and two runs scored.
Pitchers Kirkland Rivers and Gary Campfield took advantage of the early run support and absolutely shut down the Ohio State bats, who were no match for the Aggies.
"To be honest, we don't have the firepower to keep up with them," said Ohio State head coach Bob Todd. "We're hitting singles and they're hitting home runs. That made all the difference in the world in terms of production. They had 10 hits and scored 10 runs."
Rivers started for the Aggies and gave up three runs (all earned) in four innings of work, but left the game with a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning. Campfield came in and pitched the final five innings of the game and earned the win, allowing just one run on four hits and posting five strikeouts.
The Aggie bats weren't quite as active in the night game against Louisiana-Lafayette, but it didn't matter thanks to the incredible effort from pitcher Scott Migl. The freshman gave up just one run on nine hits in a season-high seven-plus innings of work.
Migl was nails in the first inning, but seemed even more confident after the Aggie offense provided him with an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
"Any time I go out there with a lead, it helps the pitching," Migl said. "It had a big affect on what I did out there, and it made me a little more comfortable out there."
Louisiana Lafayette head coach Tony Robichaux said the Ragin Cajuns just couldn't solve Migl.
"We weren't competitive at the plate tonight," he said. "(Migl) did a great job of pitching. He located his pitches and changed speeds. He's stingy. Every time we would get something going, there were two outs. Every time we would hit the ball hard it would be at somebody. That's a credit to him. We tried to get something going, but he wouldn't let it happen."
Childress was thrilled to take care of business by winning both games on Sunday, but he stressed to his players afterwards that there is still business to take care of on Monday if they want to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals next weekend versus Rice in Houston.
"It's nice that we get the opportunity to play tomorrow, but we haven't won anything yet," he said. "I know that Louisiana-Lafayette is going show up tomorrow ready to play, and so are we."
Pitchers have not been formally announced, but sophomore Kyle Thebeau or freshman Clayton Ehlert will likely get the nod for the Aggies.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Louisiana Lafayette will be the home team in Monday night's winner-take-all match up.
Aggies take care of business
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