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OLSEN MAGIC: A&M overcomes 9-run deficit to beat South Carolina

The ninth-inning heroics capped off a historic comeback, as the Aggies erased a nine-run deficit.
Credit: SEC Network+

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Brett Minnich launched a two-out, two-run, walk-off home run over the centerfield fence, sending the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies to a 13-12 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Saturday afternoon’s contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

The ninth-inning heroics capped off a historic comeback, as the Aggies erased a nine-run deficit. It matched a nine-run deficit the Maroon & White overcame in a 14-10 win over Northwestern State in 2012.

Trailing 12-11 in the ninth, the first two batters were retired with a Jack Moss groundout to short and a Dylan Rock fly out to centerfield. Logan Britt fell behind in the count, 0-2, but worked a six-pitch walk to bring the winning run to the plate. Minnich looked at a first-pitch ball before blasting the end game dinger onto the camera deck left of the batters eye in centerfield, sending the Aggies into euphoria.

Texas A&M trailed 9-0 after four innings as South Carolina put up single runs in the first and fourth frames, sandwiched around a seven-run second.

The Aggies began chipping away with a five-run fifth inning that featured a Ryan Targac grand slam. 

Both teams scored a run in the seventh, before A&M claimed its first lead of the game with a five-run eighth inning. Rody Barker started the heroics with a leadoff pinch-hit double down the leftfield line and Trevor Werner blasted a two-run tater to cut the lead to 10-8. Eventually, Troy Claunch put the Aggies ahead, 11-10 with a two run single.

South Carolina (23-22, 9-14 SEC) would not go away quietly, reclaiming the advantage in the ninth. The Gamecocks tied the game with a Braylen Wimmer home run and went ahead on a throwing error at the plate by closer Jacob Palisch.

With the victory, the Aggies improved to 30-15 overall and 14-9 in SEC play. Texas A&M clinched their fifth SEC consecutive series, marking their longest run since 2017.

The Aggies put up double-digits in the run column in four consecutive games for the first time since a seven-game stretch in 2016 that included a three-game sweep of Mississippi State.

Wyatt Tucker kept the Aggies in striking distance on the mound, yielding two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six in 5.1 innings.

TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS

Brett Minnich – 1-for-5, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 RBI, Walkoff HR

Ryan Targac – 3-for-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI

Dylan Rock – 3-for-5, 1 2B, 1 HBP, 2 R

Wyatt Tucker – 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6K 

GAME SUMMARY

T1| The game started with Brandt Belk reaching on a throwing error by A&M pitcher Micah Dallas on dribbler back to the mound. Belk stole second base and scored when Kevin Madden punched a single into centerfield. SC 1, A&M 0

T2| Braylen Wimmer hit a leadoff double to leftfield and scored on a Michael Braswell single up the middle. Singles by Jalen Vasquez and Colin Burgess loaded the bases. Evan Stone bounced back to the mound, but Dallas’ through to the plate sailed over the catcher’s mitt allowing Braswell to score. Belk drove in Vasquez with a single to leftfield. With one out, Josiah Sightler knocked in two runs with a single to leftfield. Andrew Eyster drew a walk to reload the bases and Wimmer singled through the middle to push Belk across. The final run of the frame came across when Sightler scored on a wild pitch. SC 8, A&M 0

T4| With one out, Sightler hit a solo home run over the wall in leftfield. SC 9, A&M 0

B5| With one out, Jack Moss gapped a single to left-center and Dylan Rock doubled to centerfield to put two in scoring position. Austin Bost was hit by a pitch to fill the bags with Ags. Brett Minnich fell behind 0-2, but worked a seven-pitch walk to push a run across. After Troy Claunch fanned for the second out, Ryan Targac blasted a grand slam to leftfield. SC 9, A&M 5

T7| Braswell hit off a lead off double to rightfield and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Vasquez. Braswell was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Burgess. SC 10, A&M 5

B7| With two outs, Claunch doubled down the left line and scored on a Targac single through the right side. SC 10, A&M 6

B8| Pinch-hitter Rody Barker laced a leadoff double down the leftfield line and Trevor Werner homered to leftfield to cut the deficit to two runs. Moss squibbed a single down about 20 feet from home plate and Rock singled to centerfield to restart the rally. Bost was issued a base on balls to fill the bags with Ags and Minnich pushed a run across with a grounder back to the mound. Claunch bounced a single up the middle to knock in the tying and go-ahead runs. A&M 11, SC 10

T9| Wimmer clubbed a 2-0 offering from Jacob Palisch over the leftfield wall for the equalizer. With one out, Talmadge LeCroy singled to centerfield and Burgess was hit by a pitch. A deep fly ball by Stone put runners on the corners. Belk cued a dribbler down the third base line that rolled foul before spinning back into fair territory. Palisch picked the ball up in time to retire LeCroy at home, but his throw was errant and South Carolina took the lead. SC 12, A&M 11

B9| With two outs, Logan Britt fell behind 0-2 before working the six-pitch walk. Minnich blasted a 1-0 pitch over the wall in centerfield for the walk-off tater. A&M 13, SC 12

UP NEXT

The Aggies look for the series sweep when they host South Carolina for Sunday’s finale at 1:02 pm.

TEXAS A&M QUOTES

Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle

On Texas A&M’s ability to battle…

“Super competitive kids, ballparks playing small today and the guys just kept battling. We were down nine-to-nothing and I was one out away from taking (Troy) Claunch out of the game because I wanted to get him out to be able to play tomorrow. I told myself that if we scratch for a run here I will leave him in and holy cow what an awesome game. Wyatt Tucker, his effort gets lost in a lot of things. He did a really nice job, as did Cortez. There was just a lot of crazy things in that game, especially in this heat.”

Sophomore second baseman Ryan Targac

On the deficit that the team had to overcome to win…

“Just realizing that we do not always have to play to what the score is. We were down eight-to-nothing in the second, so at that point we are not playing to score, we are playing our game. It showed too because we came back, and we walked it off.”

Senior pinch hitter Rody Barker

On his first hit of the season…

“I knew that I hit it well. I was just going up there just thinking ‘be me and find a good pitch to hit’. I wanted to put a good swing on it and try to give our team a little spark to give us the best chance to win… I knew I hit it well, so whenever I saw it go past him it was a pretty good feeling.”

Junior rightfield Brett Minnich

On his walk off home run…

“I just put a good swing on it… I hit it and I knew I got it, but I just looked at the center fielder to see what he was doing. When he started jogging back, I knew that it had gotten in that Olsen Field wind, so it felt good… It is great to be a part of that win. This team is so resilient. We have a ‘next man up’ mentality and I just think that it is so fun to play with these guys.”