Rob Childress
Christian Roa
Jonathan Ducoff
Mikey Hoehner
Texas A&M Baseball

Aggies clinch series with 6-1 win over Hogs, make case to host Regional

May 18, 2019
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Game #56: No. 16 Texas A&M 6, No. 4 Arkansas 1
Records: Arkansas (40-15, 20-10), Texas A&M (36-19-1, 16-13-1)
WP: Christian Roa (3-2)
LP: Connor Noland (2-4)
Box Score


A statement win and a statement series win over the Razorbacks will give the Aggies a lot momentum as they roll into Hoover for the SEC Tournament.

No. 16 Texas A&M took the decisive game three over fourth-ranked Arkansas, 6-1, on Saturday in the regular season finale. Christian Roa cruised through six innings of one-run ball. Offensively, the Aggies did the little things right and also capitalized on four Razorback errors en route to clinching the series and keeping their Regional hosting chances alive.

“I told the team after the game that I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played all weekend long,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We played about as good as we could ask our team to play.”

After five home runs in the series opener on Thursday and another on Friday night, all of Arkansas’ nine runs in the series came via he long ball. Casey Martin would add one more to that total with his third homer of the series, a solo job to left in the first inning. Aggie starter Christian Roa bounced back after that moment.

Jackie Ysaquirre, TexAgs
After giving up a solo shot in the first, Christian Roa settled in and shut out the Hogs the rest of the way.

“Shaky start, but we definitely settled in after that,” Roa said.

In the fourth inning, Roa found himself in his only sticky spot of the day when Arkansas loaded the bases with just one out. After a flyball out in foul territory and a grounder back to the mound, Roa was able to avoid a disastrous inning and keep the deficit at 1-0.

In the fifth, the Aggie bats game to life. Mikey Hoehner started the rally with a base hit. Following a sacrifice bunt and a Logan Foster single, Jonathan Ducoff stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and a chance to tie the game. On his senior day, Ducoff delivered an RBI single up the middle to tie the game.

“I’m very proud of that kid,” Childress said of Ducoff after the game. “When you get your moment, you’ve gotta capitalize on it, and he did.”

A&M would score two more runs in the inning, both unearned, as they took advantage of the first of four Razorback errors in the game.

“That’s the name of the game: taking advantage of every opportunity,” A&M catcher Mikey Hoehner said. “They had some errors but we had a lot of hard hit balls. That’s just the way baseball works.”

Christian Roa would depart the ballgame following the sixth. He struck out seven Razorbacks, and the only run he allowed was the Martin homer in the opening frame. Childress and Hoehner both said Saturday was perhaps Roa’s best performance of the year, including his gem versus Vanderbilt in March.

“He was electric today,” said Hoehner. “That slider was working the way it usually does. He located his fastball in both games, and when he does that he’s a very dominant pitcher.”

Texas A&M scored another run in the sixth and tacked on two more in the seventh. Only two of their six runs on the day would be earned.

“When we needed it most, they made a few mistakes and we were certainly able to capitalize on it,” Childress said.

“I’m not going to lift my head up for two weeks down the road. Our guys understand that when there’s a trophy and a ring on the line, we’re going to try our very best to try and find a way to win it.”
- A&M head coach Rob Childress

The bullpen slammed the door for the second game in a row. Joseph Menefee threw 2.1 innings and retired all seven batters he faced. Kasey Kalich only faced two batters in the ninth but finished the ballgame with back-to-back punchouts. Aggie pitchers sent down the last 15 Arkansas hitters in order to close the ballgame.

“If we can score six runs a game, we’ve got a chance to win most of those games with our pitching,” said Childress.

The Aggies knew they needed to win the final series of the season to make a statement to the selection committee that they deserve to be one of 16 teams hosting an NCAA regional in two weeks.

“It’s out of our hands and out of our control,” Roa said. “We just have to go out and play well (in Hoover). If we do that, I’m sure we will be back here.”

Coach Childress wants his team to focus more on the SEC Tournament this week than what might happen on Selection Monday.

“I’m not going to lift my head up for two weeks down the road,” he said. “Our guys understand that when there’s a trophy and a ring on the line, we’re going to try our very best to try and find a way to win it.”

The SEC Tournament begins on Tuesday in Hoover, Alabama. Texas A&M will be the six seed and will play at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday against the Florida Gators. Asa Lacy will start the game on the mound as he returns from his four-game suspension.

 
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