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Texas A&M Baseball

Aggies drop tight battle to Ole Miss, 2-1, to end SEC Tournament run

May 26, 2018

Game #59: Ole Miss 2, Texas A&M 1
Records: Ole Miss (45-15, 21-13 SEC), Texas A&M (39-20, 16-18 SEC)
WP: Jordan Fowler (7-0)
LP: Mitchell Kilkenny (8-4)
SV: Will Ethridge (3)
Box Score

Texas A&M’s SEC Tournament hot streak came to an end Saturday afternoon, dropping a hard-fought 2-1 game to No. 4 Ole Miss in Hoover, Alabama.

Mitchell Kilkenny held the high-powered Rebels offense to two runs in six innings and the A&M bullpen notched three more scoreless innings of relief, but the Aggies stranded the bases loaded in the eighth and their comeback attempt came up just short.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the way we performed all week, the way we competed against four incredibly talented teams,” head coach Rob Childress said after the game. “Mitchell Kilkenny gave us a great start and we played flawless defense behind him, and our bullpen did a nice job as well.”

Ole Miss scored both their runs in the second as Nick Fortes singled to center and Thomas Dillard followed by chopping a double over Chris Andritsos’ head that put runners on second and third with no outs. The next two batters scored both those baserunners with a groundout and an RBI single to give the Rebels an early 2-0 lead.

“We had a few opportunities offensively to get some big hits and just weren’t able to make that happen. Baseball is a game of inches,” Childress said. “They score their runs probably six inches over the top of our first baseman’s glove, they get second and third and they cashed in.

“Ole Miss is a very talented team. You can’t come up for air against their offense and they’re incredible well-coached as well.”

The Aggies got their share of baserunners and hit several balls hard, but could not mount any offense against Ole Miss lefty Jordan Fowler. He blanked A&M for six innings, striking out three, and used a sinking fastball to induce 11 groundball outs, including four double plays.

“He was mixing in three pitches for strikes and we got away from our approach a little bit early in the game,” Foster said of Fowler. “We had that energy toward the end, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Stephanie Aiple
Logan Foster went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI single in Saturday's loss to Ole Miss. 

Michael Helman, Braden Shewmake and Logan Foster all recorded two hits on the afternoon, and Foster tripled in the second but was promptly thrown out at home trying to score on a groundball to third base.

A&M mounted a two-out rally in the eighth that proved to be its best chance to score. Shewmake singled to right and then Andritsos reached on an error. Next up, Foster plated Shewmake with an RBI single through the right side and Chandler Morris worked a walk to load the bases.

Needing a run to tie and two runs to take the lead, Allonte Wingate swung through a 3-2 fastball on the inside corner from Ole Miss reliever Will Ethridge to end the threat.

Ethridge earned a nine-out save on the mound, scattering two hits and an unearned run over the final three innings to close out the victory.

“Ole Miss’s bullpen is as dominant a group as I’ve seen,” Childress said. “When they make a move to the bullpen, they get better. Those guys are incredibly talented and Will Ethridge is right in that group. He’s got power stuff, he doesn’t buckle when the game gets hot — he just makes pitches.”

After Kilkenny left the game, Cason Sherrod tossed two scoreless frames and Nolan Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth. For the week, the Aggies allowed only five runs in their four tournament games. 

The loss keeps the Aggies from competing in Sunday’s SEC championship game, but they played another solid game and Childress likes where his team is at heading into Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection show.

“I think we found out who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to go about our business in games of this magnitude,” Childress said. “The guys emptied it out for each other for the entire week. When you can see that, feel that and know what it takes, it’s incredible.

“That’s the way you want to feel this time of year. You want to feel like you played your best and you’re as cohesive as can be, and I feel like we are. We’ll find out Monday where we’re going and who we’re playing, but I certainly like our chances. We found a couple of other guys that we can depend upon on the mound, and I think that’s what every team hopes to do during this week.”

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Aggies drop tight battle to Ole Miss, 2-1, to end SEC Tournament run

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