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Jonathan Ducoff's clutch hitting leads Aggies to 8-7 victory over Florida

May 21, 2019
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Clutch City, population: Jonathan Ducoff.

Texas A&M needed a stellar performance from someone in order to overcoming shaking pitching and pitiful defense in their opening game of the SEC Tournament on Tuesday morning. Jonathan Ducoff stepped up and delivered not once, but twice as the Aggies downed the Florida Gators, 8-7.

In the bottom of the 10th inning of a 7-7 ballgame, the Aggies had the winning run in scoring position and Jonathan Ducoff at the plate with two outs. Florida’s Nolan Crisp had Ducoff in an 0-2 hole, but the senior’s never-say-die approach prevailed as he laced a walk-off single into left-centerfield.

“It’s incredible,” Ducoff told the SEC Network immediately following the game. “This is the best moment of my career.”

Another pivotal at-bat came in the 8th inning with A&M trailing 5-4. Ducoff stepped up with two out and two on. The at-bat droned on for nine pitches as Florida’s Jordan Butler could not dispose of the pesky Ducoff.

“It just got to the point where it was 3-2 and I knew what he was going with,” Ducoff said postgame.

Ducoff then tagged the 10th pitch of the at-bat to left, a no-doubter of a three-run home run to give A&M a 7-5 lead.

“It’s incredible. This is the best moment of my career.”
- Jonathan Ducoff

It appeared at the time as if that swing might be enough. Kasey Kalich entered in the ninth but the Aggie closer wasn’t able to get the job done. The Gators scored two runs to tie the game 7-7 as Kalich was saddled with a blown save. Kalich would end up getting the win thanks to Ducoff’s heroics in the 10th.

The ballgame was a back and forth affair throughout. Early on, Asa Lacy was rolling and the Aggies scored him three runs early during a second inning rally. Lacy only allowed one Gator to reach base in the first four innings of play

Everything changed in the fifth inning as Lacy’s hot and cold nature caught up with him. A walk and hard hit ball that Bryce Blaum booted was ruled a single and led to Florida’s first threat of the game. After another walk to load the bases, Florida would cash in thanks to Brady McConnell’s two-run single. A&M would escape the inning holding onto a 3-2 lead.

Lacy would begin the sixth inning on the mound for the Aggies, but the lefty would not finish it. A throwing error by Blaum combined with two walks would load the bases with two outs for Florida. Lacy would give way for right-handed fireballer Bryce Miller. Lacy finished the game with eight strikeouts but four walks. Miller would walk the first batter he faced to knot the game up.

The damage in the fifth was limited thanks to a heads-up play from Braden Shewmake, nailing Jud Fabian who made a wide turn at third for the final out.

In the eighth, Florida would add two more to take the first lead of the game, 5-3. But then came a four run inning for A&M, every run coming with two outs. Mikey Hoehner hit a solo home run to make it 5-4, then three batters later came Ducoff’s big blow.

“It was just a heavyweight fight back and forth,” head coach Rob Childress said.

Texas A&M advanced to the double-elimination portion of the SEC Tournament and will face the #3-seeded Georgia Bulldogs at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The Ags are inching closer and closer to locking up a regional host bid.

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Jonathan Ducoff's clutch hitting leads Aggies to 8-7 victory over Florida

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