Graduate transfer Jonathan Ducoff slapped a single through the left side, plating Ty Condel for the walk-off win as the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies registered an 8-7 victory over the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday afternoon on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Ducoff, who also logged a two-run pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, finished the day 2-for-2 with three RBI. Cam Blake tied the game with a three-run triple in the eighth as the Maroon & White erased a 7-2 deficit. He finished 2-for-5 with one double, one triple and three RBI.
A sellout crowd of 7,104 packed into Blue Bell Park to witness the Olsen Magic. It marked the-eighth largest crowd since the facility was renovated for the 2012 campaign. The Aggies improved to 16-5 overall and 1-1 in SEC play while Vanderbilt dropped to 15-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Kasey Kalich (1-0) earned the win. He worked out of a tough spot in the top of the ninth as the Commodores loaded the bases with one out before he fanned a pair to set up the home half heroics.
The series rubber match is slated for Sunday at 1:02 p.m.
T5 | Pat DeMarco hit a leadoff double centerfield and Phillip Clarke followed with a six-pitch walk. Ethan Paul broke the tie with a first-pitch home run down the rightfield line for a three-run home run. VU 3, A&M 0.
T6 | JJ Bleday bounced a single through the right side of the infield to start the inning and Stephen Scott followed with a single to rightfield. DeMarco drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases and drive Lacy from the game. Chandler Jozwiak relieved Lacy and got Clarke to bounce into a fielder’s choice to first base with Bleday being retired at home. Paul slashed a single to leftfield, knocking in two runs. VU 5, A&M 0.
B6 | The rally started when Vanderbilt’s catcher was unable to hold onto strike three on leadoff hitter Braden Shewmake who scampered to first. Mikey Hoehner bounced a single up the middle and after a wild pitch pushed both runners into scoring position, Will Frizzell worked an eight-pitch walk to fill the bags with Ags. Ty Coleman knocked in Shewmake with a sacrifice fly. After Allonte Wingate was issued a base on balls to reload the bases, Hoehner scored on a wild pitch. VU 5, A&M 2.
T7 | With one out, Cooper Davis poked a single through the right side and Austin Martin followed with a two-run home run over the leftfield fence. VU 7, A&M 2.
B8 | Ty Coleman and Hunter Coleman drew one-out walks to start the rally. Condel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ducoff drove a 2-1 offering to leftfield, scoring the Brothers Coleman, cutting the lead to 7-4. Bryce Blaum drew a walk to reload the bases and Blake tied the game with a triple past a diving centerfielder for three RBI. A&M 7, VU 7.
B9 | Ty Coleman started the rally with a gapper to left-center for a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hunter Coleman. Coleman was replaced at second base by Condel who grounded back to the pitcher, but took two bags as Coleman kept himself in a rundown. Ducoff stroked the first pitch he saw over the glove of Vanderbilt’s third baseman in the hole, plating Condel for the end game. A&M 8, VU 7.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the celebration…
“Well we have been fighting a bit this week. We had a tough loss on the road at Dallas Baptist and again last night. We have had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position, and you could sense how bad they wanted it, almost to a fault. It was just nice to get some hits there in the eighth and ninth inning. The dam finally broke open a little bit for us. Kasey (Kalich) went out in the ninth, and held them in a big spot. We were able to come back and execute an offensive inning the bottom half of the ninth and got a big hit.”
On if he thought the hit was going to come in the ninth…
“Well we have talked about the opportunities that we have had thus far this year. We have got to the door an awful lot, just that we have not kicked it in late in some game, and we were able to that today. Once you do it, that’s a good feeling, you will be able to draw from that for a while.”
Senior INF/OF Jonathan Ducoff
On getting the walk-off hit…
“I’m just trying to do something to help us win. Our team was resilient today. Vanderbilt came out and punched us in the mouth, and coming back from 7-2 against a really good ball club meant a lot.”
On facing the same pitcher twice and if he was confident…
“He has good stuff, he’s got good life on his fastball. I think he just fell behind in the count a few times, so it always helps and yeah I was able to see him pretty well. I just tried to put a good swing on it.”
Sophomore RHP Kasey Kalich
On the final strike of the ninth inning working with bases loaded on a full count…
“It was surreal and amazing. It pulled a lot of momentum our way and allowed our hitters to get in that mind set of let’s get this done. And there it was. We have a runner on second, two outs. Jonathan Ducoff hits a ground ball to third base, to win the game.”
On what Cam Blake brings to the team…
“When he sees someone tense, he’ll go over there and talk him up or joke around with them. Getting them feeling loose, and ready for their next at-bat. He can get something going by being a huge spark for the team. Like he did with his hit down the first baseline.”
Junior OF Cam Blake
On his offensive performance…
“I was trying to put my best swing on the ball. My teammates got on the base in front of me and I was doing everything I could to get a run across.”
On his role for the team…
“My role is to have fun, that’s what I bring to the table for this team. We have guys that can do that and we have others that are real serious. There is a need for both of those things in the locker room, but for me I try to bring as much personality as I can.”
On how much this win means…
“Every win on the field is important. If you’re not playing that way then you’re not having that much fun. Weather its Tuesday, Wednesday or a Friday night were going to celebrate the same way every single time. We care for each other and want to win.”