OKLAHOMA CITY - Texas A&M earned a spot in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship game with a 7-2 win over Missouri Thursday evening before 4,707 fans at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
The Aggies (38-19-1) won the pool by defeating the Tigers (28-26) after Texas Tech downed Texas earlier in the afternoon. A&M, which has a game remaining against the Longhorns Saturday afternoon, can end up tied with either Tech or Mizzou but holds the tiebreaker over both.
"Both teams knew coming in to this game what it meant--the opportunity to play on Sunday," A&M coach Rob Childress said. "I thought the story for us was Barret Loux without question. He got us off to a great start. The difference in the game was after Missouri fought back, we were able to answer in the seventh and eighth innings."
Junior Barret Loux provided another strong start for the Aggies, carrying a perfect game into the fifth inning and allowing the offense to chip away at the Tiger pitching staff. Kevin Gonzalez and Joe Patterson drove in runs in the second and third, staking A&M to a quick 2-0 lead.
The Tigers got their first runner of the game with two outs in the fifth on an Eric Garcia single. Russell LaFleur then doubled to put the tying run at second, but Loux induced a first-pitch groundout off the bat of Jesse Santo to preserve the shutout.
Aggie shortstop Brodie Greene led off the next inning with a long home run to left, and A&M would add another run when Joe Patterson scored on an attempted suicide squeeze play when the ball got away from the catcher and back to the backstop.
RBIs by Aaron Senne and Conner Mach in the sixth got the runs back for Missouri, but A&M again responded in their ensuing at-bat when Tyler Naquin cashed in a Joaquin Hinojosa triple with a sac fly to make the score 5-2. Gonzalez and Caleb Shofner would drive in the final runs of the night in the eighth.
Loux improved to 10-2 on the year, allowing six hits and two runs over seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven. John Stilson allowed one walk in two no-hit frames of relief.
Mizzou starter Kelly Fick (2-2) suffered the loss, giving up two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of work.
Hinojosa, Patterson, Gonzalez and Andrew Collazo each had two hits, as the Aggies out-hit MU, 11-6. For the Tigers, LaFleur paced the offense with a 2-for-4 night.
Texas A&M has Friday off before wrapping up pool play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against No. 1-ranked Texas (46-10). The Aggies will send senior Clayton Ehlert (3-6, 5.35 ERA) to the mound to face Longhorn junior and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Cole Green (10-0, 2.08). Fans can listen locally on WTAW-AM 1620 or follow through free live video and stats at big12sports.com.
Aggies Advance To Big 12 Championship Game
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