Story Poster
Jim Schlossnagle
Brett Minnich
Ryan Targac
Rody Barker
Texas A&M Baseball

Minnich's magical blast walks off Gamecocks, completes crazy comeback

May 7, 2022

Game #45: No. 13 Texas A&M 13, South Carolina 12
Records: Texas A&M (30-15, 14-9), South Carolina (23-22, 9-14)
WP: Jacob Palisch (4-3)
LP: Matthew Becker (2-4)
Box Score

The formula for overcoming a big deficit is to chip away at the lead.

No. 13 Texas A&M doesn’t chip away. The Aggies smash away.

The Aggies (30-15, 14-9) blasted three home runs, including a walk-off shot by Brett Minnich, to overcome a 9-0 deficit and take a 13-12 Southeastern Conference baseball victory over South Carolina (23-22, 9-14) on Saturday at Blue Bell Park.

“I was just in the right spot at the right time. I knew I got it. I looked at the centerfielder to see his mannerisms. Whenever he started jogging back, I knew it got up in that wind … the Olsen Field wind. It felt good.”
- A&M right fielder Brett Minnich

Minnich’s two-out, two-run home run over the 400-foot sign in centerfield put an end to what has to be one of the most bizarre, emotionally-exhausting games ever played on Olsen Field … or perhaps anywhere else.

“I was just in the right spot at the right time,” Minnich said. “I knew I got it. I looked at the centerfielder to see his mannerisms. Whenever he started jogging back, I knew it got up in that wind … the Olsen Field wind. It felt good.”

Also, Ryan Targac hit a grand slam in a five-run fifth inning, and Trevor Werner had a two-run homer in a five-run eighth inning.

The Aggies — who belted five homers in a 16-4 victory to open the series on Friday night — go for the sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Such an offensive explosion might not have been needed if not for a second-inning implosion that was largely caused by fielding errors.

A&M starting pitcher Micah Dallas was knocked out in just 1.1 innings. He gave up eight runs on eight hits and committed two costly throwing errors.

The second errant throw was especially ghastly.

South Carolina held a 2-0 lead and had the bases loaded with no outs in the second inning.

Nine-hitter Evan Stone tapped a pitch back to Dallas. The potential double-play ball might have enabled the Aggies to get out of the inning relatively unscathed.

Instead, Dallas threw over catcher Troy Claunch’s head. The error allowed shortstop Michael Braswell to score and kept the bases loaded.

The Gamecocks followed with three hits and a walk to take a 7-0 lead and chase Dallas.

Wyatt Tucker came on and limited South Carolina to just one more run in the second and gave up just two runs of his own in 5.1 innings of relief. Chris Cortez followed him and allowed just one hit in 1.1 innings.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Wyatt Tucker’s strong outing in relief allowed A&M to claw back into Saturday’s contest.

That provided A&M’s awesome offense a chance to come back. It was just a matter of time — and a rare dugout meeting — for the Aggies to mount a rally.

“Dugout meetings are overrated,” Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Teams that meet in the dugout are representatives of losing teams. So, I never have dugout meetings, but I had one today.

“When we were down 9-nothing, Dylan Rock was hanging his head. I said, ‘How are you doing? What’s wrong with you?’

“He said, ‘I’m frustrated.’ I said, ‘You can’t be frustrated. There’s a lot of game left.’

“Don’t look at the scoreboard. Don’t pay attention to what the runs are. Just play. Let’s just see what happens. All it’s going to take is let’s just get a couple of guys on base and somebody get it up in the wind and we’re right back in it. That’s really what happened.”

Schlossnagle’s prophecy came to pass in the fifth inning.

Targac, the sophomore second baseman from Hallettsville, hammered 1-0 pitch from South Carolina starter Noah Hall over the left-field wall for a grand slam in a five-run fifth to put the Aggies back in contention.

“In previous at-bats, they got me on changeups,” Targac said. “I got that changeup, and I got a good swing on it. It was barreled up, but they kind of got it in on me a little bit. I was hoping the wind would do the rest for me, and it did.”

Targac also delivered an RBI single in the seventh, but the Aggies still trailed 10-6 going into the eighth.

Schlossnagle opted to use pinch-hitter Rody Barker to lead off the inning. Barker, who was hitless in his only two at-bats this season, responded with a hard-double past a diving third baseman into the left-field corner.

“I don’t think there was ever a doubt in our dugout. We just needed a little bit of a spark. I was happy it was me, but it could have been anybody in our dugout.
- A&M infielder Rody Barker

“I don’t think there was ever a doubt in our dugout,” Barker said. “We just needed a little bit of a spark. I was happy it was me, but it could have been anybody in our dugout. Everybody was pretty locked in.”

Werner followed with a home run off reliever Cade Austin. Jack Moss and Rock then singled, and Austin Bost drew a base on balls off new pitcher Matthew Becker (2-4).

Moss scored on a Minnich ground out. Troy Claunch delivered a two-run single for an 11-10 lead.

Schlossnagle then made the obvious move to bring in ace closer Jacob Palisch (4-3) to nail down the victory.

Instead, second baseman Braylen Wimmer hit a lead-off home run. Later, with two-out and two on, Palisch fielded a dribbler by Belk near the third base line.

Rather than throw to first, Palisch tried to get Talmadge LeCroy at the plate. His throw was wild, and South Carolina regained the lead.

But in the bottom of the ninth, Logan Britt worked Becker for a full-count walk. Minnich then finished off the unlikely victory.

Or maybe it was likely.

“We have such a resilient group in here,” Minnich said. “There’s never a time when we think we’re out of this. We had nobody on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth down by one and ended up winning the game.”

Discussion from...

Minnich's magical blast walks off Gamecocks, completes crazy comeback

11,309 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by TheChameleon
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Divining Rod
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This group is amazing, and we have the best damn coach in America!
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Wow. A lot to unpack in this one. Really a stunning win. Yes it was 9-0... But it was 9-0 with facing arguably SC's 3 best arms. They had their ace on the mound in Hall, then Austin and Becker are their two best relief arms... Those 3 are legit SEC pitchers. It wasn't like it was Sunday and they'd thrown everything they had already. We did this against their best. It makes it all the more unlikely. Incredible resilience and we truly never stopped fighting. This one will be remembered for a long time. Crazy, weird game but such an interesting one.

Offense was tenacious. Man these guys have some pop. Yes the ballpark was playing small to left & left center but give us credit for taking advantage of that. We got the pitches to get it up in the air to that part of the park & didn't miss them. Werner's was a no doubter though. I have mixed feelings about the new lineup. I do really like Kaler's on base ability & we've put up some huge run totals with him leading off. He also hasn't been swinging his best lately. I might go with Rock at leadoff if Kaler gets moved... But honestly this lineup overall is so good that it seriously might not matter a ton who leads off. Hope Werner is getting close to putting it all together. Unbelievable job by Barker- 2 AB's this year and then to come through like he did yesterday? Unreal. Those two at bats were spectacular & against two legit arms. Talk about staying ready and rising to the occasion. He has ability & would be playing more for a lot of teams. Might've earned some AB's with that... Just awesome. Rock swung it well & Targac has been otherworldly lately. Minnich with the walkoff... Super clutch and he shook off some tough AB's earlier and came through huge.

With Dallas, just a confluence of unfortunate events yesterday. Again the stuff was fine... his stuff is more than good enough to be successful in this league. Errors were killer and then a lot of the hits were dinks & dunks... A couple squared up balls but most were not. Still, it might help to have him come out of the pen for a bit to right the ship... Could give a different perspective and a reset. This team needs him & he's got the ability. That part is obvious. Tucker was very solid. He gave us a chance to come back... Held his velo well. Very impressed with the stamina of our relievers. These guys are in good shape, strong arms, pitch counts haven't bothered them at all. You still see them maintaining their velo even in long multi-inning outings. Cortez, that was as sharp as he's been in a while. Strikes, stuff was crisp. Liked his tempo on the mound, was locating and getting groundballs. And 99 on the K- yeah, that'll do. Great outing for him. Palisch was a little off, spiked some pitches and then obviously the error... Bit of a weird play. But he limited the damage and gave us a chance in the bottom half to come back.

This is one that won't be forgotten anytime soon... Kind of an odd game, that's how this series has gone, but either way just a really amazing win and something to take with them going forward. They knew they weren't out of it & especially with the ballpark playing like that, they were smart & got the pitches they wanted and didn't miss... A lot of determination. Sweep would be awesome and they've got some momentum now going into today... Should be fun. Hats off to this team, great group and they're really exciting to watch.
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