Story Poster
Rob Childress
Hunter Coleman
Cole Bedford
Texas A&M Baseball

Comeback attempt comes up short as Aggies drop rubber match to Ole Miss, 7-6

March 24, 2018

Game #25: Ole Miss 7, Texas A&M 6
Records: Ole Miss 22-3 (4-2), Texas A&M 19-6 (2-4)
WP: Dallas Woolfolk (1-0)
LP: Asa Lacy (0-1)
SV: Parker Caracci (3)
Box Score

The Aggies mounted a charge in the ninth as Hunter Coleman was inches away from a game-tying home run, but the comeback attempt came up short as No. 5 Ole Miss hung on for a 7-6 win in Saturday afternoon’s back-and-forth rubber match at Olsen Field.

Coleman plated Michael Helman with a double that landed halfway up the wall in left-center to get the Aggies within one, but Logan Foster struck out on the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Rebels hard-throwing reliever Parker Caracci to end the game.

“I sure thought he had a shot when it left his bat,” head coach Rob Childress said of Coleman’s near-homer. “Had he hit it yesterday or on Thursday it might have gone, but today it just didn’t go. Such is baseball.”

Bridgett Ledak, TexAgs
Hunter Coleman went 3-for-5 on the day with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored.

The Aggies teed off on Ole Miss starter James McArthur, knocking him out in the second inning after Foster led off the frame and scored on an RBI single by Cole Bedford. McArthur then issued back-to-back walks to force the Rebels to go to the bullpen, but they turned a sharp Zach DeLoach ground ball into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

A&M suffered more tough luck in the third. The first four Aggies reached base and, after Logan Foster was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double on a hit that put his team ahead 4-2, Will Frizzell hit a bullet, but it was right at the Ole Miss first baseman for the second out of the inning. Bedford grounded out to first moments later to end the threat.

“That’s part of it. Will hit a ball as hard as you can hit it,” Coleman said. “That would’ve been another run on the board, but we just have to keep hitting the ball hard. I think we did a great job offensively today, and things just didn’t go our way.”

Mitchell Kilkenny, who entered the game 5-0 in five Sunday starts, gave up a two-run homer to Cole Zabowski in the fourth to close the Aggies’ lead to 4-3, but looked like he was settling in nicely after he got two quick outs to start the fifth.

Then Thomas Dillard hit a slow chopper to first that Frizzell couldn’t handle, and Kilkenny surrendered a double and a single to the next two hitters to give the Rebels a 5-4 lead.

Kilkenny’s day was done after that as Childress went to the bullpen with two outs in the fifth. Kilkenny gave up eight hits and five runs, three of them earned, to go along with two walks. He did not strike out a batter in 4.2 innings.

Asa Lacy pitched the Aggies into the seventh before getting into trouble. With the score knotted at five, Dillard doubled down the left-field line. After Zabowski grounded out to second to advance Dillard to third, Childress went to right-hander Jason Ruffcorn to try to get out of the jam.

Two of the first three batters he faced got run-scoring hits to left field, however, as Ole Miss took a 7-5 lead they would not surrender. Kaylor Chafin and Nolan Hoffman both pitched a scoreless inning of relief to keep the Aggies’ deficit at two, but Childress did not want to overextend them since they had both pitched in the first two games of the series.

“We tried to limit them to one inning apiece,” Childress said, “and we were doing everything we could to fight through the seventh inning with those two young guys.”

DeLoach got behind 0-2 against Caracci to start the ninth, but worked the count full and singled to left on the payoff pitch. After Helman reached on a fielder’s choice and Braden Shewmake struck out, Coleman punished Caracci’s 2-2 slider to deep left. With the wind blowing in a bit, the fly ball did not carry as much as it might have on other days, so Coleman had to settle for an RBI double.

"It's really frustrating, but it's baseball. He hit that ball great and any other day that ball might be out. It's a game of inches, another 10-12 inches and that ball is out of here and we get to play another inning. 
- Junior catcher Cole Bedford

“It’s really frustrating but it’s baseball,” Bedford said. “He hit that ball great and any other day that ball might be out. It’s a game of inches, another 10-12 inches and that ball is out of here and we get to go play another inning.

Caracci recovered to strike out Foster on eight pitches to send the Aggies’ to their second consecutive SEC series defeat.

“Really proud of the way they competed. This is a heart-breaking game,” Childress said. “Give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They’re a very well-coached, talented team, but I’m also very, very proud of our guys.”

Said Bedford: “We weren’t that great on the mound and defensively we made a couple of mistakes, but we were still right there. We just kept coming, we never felt sorry for ourselves or backed off. We just kept coming and gave ourselves a chance. Some days when you’re playing great teams like Ole Miss, that’s all you can really ask for.”

The Aggies return to action on Tuesday, March 27, with a road contest against A&M-Corpus Christi that is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. From there, they will head to Georgia for another three-game SEC series beginning on Thursday.

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Comeback attempt comes up short as Aggies drop rubber match to Ole Miss, 7-6

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