TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Texas A&M third baseman George Janca hit a three-run dinger in the seventh inning to lead the Aggies to a 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon and complete the series sweep at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
After mustering one hit in the first six innings and trailing 1-0, Texas A&M (26-11, 8-7) finally put a rally together in the seventh off reliever Garrettt Suchey. With two outs, Blake Kopetsky punched a pinch-hit single up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch. Austin Homan was issued a base on balls and Janca followed by blasting a 2-0 pitch over the rightfield for his fourth home run of the year, giving the Maroon and White a 3-1 advantage.
Alabama (14-22, 2-13) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Cobie Vance slapped a single to leftfield and Chandler Taylor followed with an RBI double the same way to stake the Tide to a 1-0 lead.
The Crimson Tide mounted a late rally in the ninth, but it came up short. With one out, Chandler Avant doubled to rightfield, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch, to trim the Aggie edge to 3-2. Vance singled through the right side and Taylor walked to bring Cody Henry to the plate. Henry swung and missed at a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
Both starting pitchers were left with no decisions despite strong outings. Texas A&M’s Stephen Kolek weaved through traffic all day, allowing just one run on eight hits while striking out seven in 5.2 innings. Nick Eicholtz stymied the Aggie bats for 6.0 scoreless innings, scattering one hit and four walks while striking out six.
Kaylor Chafin (4-1) worked 2.0 blank frames for the Aggies, working around two hit batsmen to earn the win. Mitchell Kilkenny earned his fifth save of the season, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out two in 1.1 innings.
Suchey (2-5) was saddled with the loss for Alabama. He allowed three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three in 3.0 innings.
Vance led all hitters with four hits, going 4-for-5.
The Aggies return to action Tuesday when they head to Arlington for a 6:30 pm game against the UTA Mavericks at Clay Gould Ballpark.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the game…
“I was proud of our guys. When things weren’t going our way, they kept battling. The first inning we had a great inning going at the plate, but Alabama made an outstanding play to get off the field and their guy settled in. I wouldn’t say Stephen (Kolek) had his best stuff, but he battled hard like he’s never battled before and he kept them to one run. Just like that in the seventh with two outs, Kopetsky gets the big hit off the bench. Homan with the walk behind him on 3-2 and a tough pitch to take. And Georgie (Janca) puts a charge into one to change the game.”
On the importance of the sweep…
“You never want to get swept. With us starting conference playing getting swept, we had some work to do to get back in the race. And you have to get sweeps to get back into it.”
Junior 3B George Janca
On his home run…
“We got it going that inning. With two outs, Blake Kopetsky battled for the pinch-hit single. A big two-out hit. Austin (Homan) worked the walk to get me to the plate. And I was able to get the big hit.”