COLLEGE STATION, Texas – George Janca propelled the Texas A&M Aggies to a 7-6 victory over the Davidson Wildcats in NCAA Division I Championship Super Regional play when he punched a walk-off single through the right side of the infield with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 15th inning.
The game one victory gives Texas A&M (40-21) the upper hand in the best-of-three series heading into Saturday evening’s 5:04 pm contest.
The Aggies’ 15th inning started with Braden Shewmake working a six-pitch walk. After Hunter Coleman failed two attempts to get a sacrifice bunt down, he fouled off three more pitches before roping a single to rightfield. Blake Kopetsky put a sacrifice bunt down and when relief pitcher Westin Whitmire tried to retire Shewmake at third, the throw was late to fill the bags with Ags. Baine Schoenvogel and Walker Pennington had chances to end the game, but both popped up bring Janca to the plate for his late-game heroics. He slashed an 0-1 pitch under the glove of diving second baseman, Alec Acosta, to the end game.
Texas A&M drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Choruby started the frame by rattling a double in the corner down the rightfield line. He moved to third on a deep fly out by Cole Bedford and scored on Shewmake’s grounder to second base.
The Aggies tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second. Joel Davis and Walker Pennington started the stanza with singles and Janca pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. After Austin Homan swung and missed at strike three for the second out of the inning Choruby clubbed a 3-2 offering to the warning track in centerfield for a two-run double, inflating the A&M cushion to 3-0.
Texas A&M started the third with back-to-back singles by Shewmake and Coleman. After a pair of strikeouts, Pennington gapped a single to left-center, plating Shewmake for the 4-0 advantage.
Hill worked the first 6.0 innings for the Aggies, allowing three runs, one earned on four hits and one walk while striking out six. Mitchell Kilkenny entered the game to start the 10th inning and finished with 5.2 scoreless frames, scattering six hits and one walk while striking out nine. Doxakis (3-3) retired the only batter he faced with a strikeout to end the top of the 15th to scavenger the win.
The cavalcade of runs continued in the fifth with a two-run dinger by Coleman, his fifth home run of the year, to balloon the margin to 6-0.
Davidson (35-25) began to mount their comeback in the top of the sixth. The rally was aided by a throwing error by Aggie starting pitcher Brigham Hill on a bouncer back to mound by Brett Centracchio. Max Bazin pushed Centracchio to second with a sacrifice bunt and back-to-back RBI doubles by Cam Johnson and Will Robertson gave the Wildcats their first runs of the game. Robertson moved to third on a single by Alec Acosta and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brian Fortier.
The Wildcats kept charging in the seventh. Jake Sidwell punched a single to leftfield to start the inning. Reliever Kaylor Chafin appeared to induce a double play by Centracchio, but after touching second base, shortstop Austin Homan’s throw to first sailed high putting a runner on second. An infield single by Bazin put runners on the corners. Johnson hit a wall-banger to rightfield for a double, plating Centracchio. A sacrifice fly by Robertson, trimmed the Aggies’ lead to one run.
Pennington led the Aggie hit parade going 4-for-7 with one walk, one run and one RBI. Shewmake batted 3-for-7 with one walk, three runs and one RBI. Choruby hit 3-for-6 with one walk, one sacrifice bunt, two doubles, one run and two RBI. Coleman batted 3-for-8 with one home run and two RBI.
Durin O’Linger was a hoss on the mound for Davidson. He racked up 138 pitches, allowing six runs on 14 hits while striking out six in 7.2 innings. Whitmire (3-4) was saddled with the loss, allowing one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three in 4.0 innings.
Johnson paced the Wildcats at the plate. He hit 4-for-8 with two doubles, one run and three RBI. Bazin batted 4-for-5 with one run. Acosta, Eric Jones and Sidwell notched two hits apiece.
Davidson pushed the equalizer across in the ninth. Centracchio was issued a base on balls and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bazin. Johnson sent a 2-2 offering back up the middle, knotting the game at 6-6.