Story Poster
Rob Childress
Joseph Menefee
Mikey Hoehner
Texas A&M Baseball

A&M bullpen collapses in series finale loss to No. 6 Tennessee, 20-7

April 25, 2021

Game #42: No. 6 Tennessee 20, Texas A&M 7
Records: Texas A&M (23-19, 5-13), No. 6 Tennessee (32-9, 12-6)
WP: Sean Hunley (7-2)
LP: Joseph Menefee (2-2)
Save: Redmond Walsh (4)
Box score 

Complete and total annihilation.

In the rubber match of a three-game series, Texas A&M suffered their most embarrassing conference loss since joining the Southeastern Conference as No. 6 Tennessee blew out the Aggies, 20-7, on Sunday afternoon at Olsen Field. The A&M bullpen had no answer for the Vols' high-powered offense, and it showed.

"We just did a poor job out of the bullpen," said Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress. "We had a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning on Sunday with a chance to win the series, and we don't get the job done out of the bullpen."

The Aggies' one-run lead after six innings come on the back of a five-run fifth that dug the Maroon & White out of an early 5-1 deficit. Obviously, the edge was short-lived.

"It's tough when you have the lead going into the seventh, you're feeling good about things, and they score two touchdowns on you," said Texas A&M catcher Mikey Hoehner.

“We can't keep looking at it and say we're going to eventually do something. It has to be now or never.”
- Mikey Hoehner

Disaster struck in the seventh as Joseph Menefee, who was brilliant in his first three innings of work, allowed a leadoff double to Jake Rucker, immediately followed by a Drew Gilbert single. As a result, Childress elected to turn to Alex Magers.

"We had runners at first a third, and it was the highest pitch count [Menefee] has had in a long time," Childress said of the decision. "[Magers] was rested and ready to go, and certainly, that move didn't work."

On the first pitch of Magers' outing, Evan Russell launched a three-run home run to center. Two pitches later, Luc Lipcius took Magers deep. When the dust settled on the top of the seventh, Tennessee held a 10-6 advantage.

"You make a mistake against their lineup, and they're going to make you pay," Childress said. "They did a great job of not missing it there late today."

Tony Vitello's offense was far from done as they added two more runs in the eighth before posting an eight-spot in the ninth. The Vols tallied 21 hits, 11 extra-base hits and six round-trippers on the day to put a bow on the series victory.

"Tennessee has a nice lineup, and certainly they scored 15 runs in the last three innings," Childress said. "I like to think we're a little more capable than that on the mound, but give Tennessee hitters credit."

In total, A&M utilized seven different bullpen arms behind starter Nathan Dettmer, and only Menefee recorded more than three outs, tossing three complete innings while being saddled with the loss. Aggie hurlers struggled to get the first man out, which led to the big innings late.

"We had a 6-5 lead in the seventh; we have to have some other guys step up and help out on the mound out of the bullpen," Childress said. "We can't ask for anything more than that on a Sunday in SEC play. We just have to have somebody go out there and shut the door."

The Aggies entered the day hopeful that a win and a series victory might springboard their dwindling NCAA Tournament hopes. That's now replaced with immense pressure to rip off a furious winning streak in their final 14 contests and pray for a nice run in Hoover, Alabama, at the SEC Tournament.

Angelina Alcantar, TexAgs
The Aggies had a 6-5 lead in the fifth, but were outscored by the Volunteers 15-1 in the remainder of the game. 

"I think everything that a team could say to each other throughout the season has been said. It comes down to not talking about it and being about it," Hoehner said. "There's not a guy in that locker room that doesn't care 100 percent."

A&M's "one game at a time" approach is running out of games as the finish line to a very lackluster campaign is no longer far off in the distance. However, the Aggies contend that Tuesday night's non-conference game with Texas State is all they're focused on, even with a trip to Starkville to face No. 4 Mississippi State next weekend.

"We're going to have to win Tuesday; that's the first goal," Hoehner said. "We're going to have to go into an environment this weekend and do something. If we go over there and go 1-2-3 and get punched out of there, it's not going to look good for us. We're going to have to do something. We can't keep looking at it and say we're going to eventually do something. It has to be now or never."

Tuesday night will be the second time the Aggies and Bobcats have faced each other this season as A&M took the first meeting, 8-4, in San Marcos on April 13. First pitch between A&M and Texas State is set for 6:30 p.m.

Discussion from...

A&M bullpen collapses in series finale loss to No. 6 Tennessee, 20-7

3,176 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Dallasag517
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This game was embarrassing to watch, but I just thought the Aggies might have another big inning and pull through. The Magic happened in the second game of the series, but I guess it has left Olsen Field for good now. Childress is supposed to be the Pitching Guru and he should know his pitchers and what they can do out there on the mound. If some of these guys are not ready to pitch against SEC Teams, don't put them out there. Menefee was doing great until the he gave up two consecutive hits, and then you go to your next best, but the rest of the relievers looked like they were pitching batting practice. This is just not the season we were expecting. It is just not the pitching, the fielding is atrocious! Too many damn fielding errors that turn into runs that turn in to game losses. The hitting is up and down, with 3 or 4 players that are pretty consistent at the plate. The announcers were talking about A&M & the Vols leading the league in SO's, but Tennessee is hitting the long ball and getting more hits in clutch situations. They actually had several players come out of their hitting slump while playing the Aggies & three of those players hit the Big HR! I have seen many Subscribers to this site saying it is time for change at the top of the BB program and I have felt that things will turn around during this season, but now, I think it is over. Playing in the SEC in all sports, we need to be doing better and looking to be at the Top in each sport! I now feel it is time to start looking for the Best, if not we need to move back to the Big 12 minus 2!
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Collapse is a very strong word.
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