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Texas A&M Baseball

No. 6 Texas A&M claims first-ever SEC West crown with series win in Oxford

May 21, 2022
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Game #52: No. 6 Texas A&M 12, Ole Miss 5
Records: Texas A&M (35-17, 19-11), Ole Miss (32-21, 14-16)
WP: Joseph Menefee (6-2)
LP: Drew McDaniel (5-3)
Box Score


A fourth-inning eruption and four-inning disruption propelled No. 6 Texas A&M (35-17, 19-11) to a 12-5 Southeastern Conference baseball victory over No. 20 Ole Miss (32-21, 14-16) on Saturday afternoon in Oxford.

Dylan Rock cranked a three-run home run and Brett Minnich launched a grand slam in a seven-run fourth inning to quickly erase a 5-2 deficit. 

Also, Joseph Menefee (6-2) pitched four innings of sterling relief to frustrate Ole Miss, which had defeated A&M 14-6 on Friday night.

With the comeback victory, A&M clinched first place in the SEC West Division and will also be the two-seed in next week’s SEC postseason tournament.

“Had to take one on the chin hard yesterday and just kind of wear it. For the most part that’s been kind of the formula all year. We’ve got to change that formula because you have to win more than two games in a weekend.”
- A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle

“Just more of the same,” Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Had to take one on the chin hard yesterday and just kind of wear it. For the most part, that’s been kind of the formula all year. We’ve got to change that formula because you have to win more than two games in a weekend.”

A&M, which was a preseason pick to finish 13th in the SEC, had already clinched the two-seed by virtue of Alabama’s 18-5 victory over Arkansas early Saturday afternoon.

The Aggies held a tiebreaker over Arkansas (18-12) by taking two out of three in an earlier series. However, they made it clear they did not need — and perhaps did not want — any help from Alabama.

Overall, A&M belted four home runs, 13 hits, and drew six walks off five Ole Miss pitchers to win the weekend series. It was the Aggies’ seventh straight series win.

Jack Moss delivered a single to drive in Trevor Werner, who led off the game with a triple. The Aggies added another run on a Troy Claunch RBI in the second.

But solo home runs by Hayden Dunhurst and Jacob Gonzalez and a three-run shot by Peyton Chatagnier staked Ole Miss to a 5-2 lead after three innings.

It was a short-lived lead.

Ironically enough, A&M’s fourth inning power surge began with Kole Kaler’s one-out drag bunt. Werner followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position.

Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco responded by relieving starting pitcher Derek Diamond, who had already thrown 68 pitches, with Drew McDaniel (5-3).

McDaniel struck out Moss, but then faced Rock, who’d drawn the derision of Ole Miss fans throughout the series. Rock blasted a 2-2 pitch over the wall in centerfield to forge a 5-5 tie.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Dylan Rock’s three-run blast kicked marked his team-leading 16th bomb of the season. 

Obviously, in Rock’s shock, McDaniel gave up a single to Austin Bost and walked Ryan Targac and Claunch.

Minnich then hit a towering fly ball that sailed over the left-field fence for an 11-5 A&M lead.

“Dylan had a great at-bat,” Schlossnagle said. “A lot of times you shut the inning down with two outs. We got some more guys on bases and Brett got just enough of it. That’s probably not a homer in too many ballparks. But we played to the conditions and did well.”

Menefee made sure the Rebels would not mount a comeback.

He replaced starter Ryan Prager in the third with two on and a full count to Hayden Dunhurst. Menefee struck out Dunhurst, but then gave up Chatagnieri’s home run.

However, Menefee was brilliant afterward. He allowed just three hits, one walk, and struck out six.

Menefee eventually gave way to Jacob Palisch with one out and one on in the seventh. Palisch promptly induced Ole Miss power hitter Tim Elko to ground into a double play.

Palisch was replaced with two out and one on in the eighth by Robert Hogan. Hogan forced a Chatagnier groundout to end the inning.

“Super proud of our guys today … the guys who pitched today against such an awesome lineup,” Schlossnagle said. “The wind blowing out, every single swing feels like a threat to go out of the ballpark. 

“I thought we made some real nice plays. Moo (Menefee) coming in on a 3-2 count to get a strikeout. Two big-double play balls were great.”

“Guys kept playing, kept believing, bought into a system, bought into a culture. Hope we’re not finished yet. We’ve got a lot more baseball to play.”
- A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle

Fading hopes Ole Miss had for a dramatic comeback vanished in the top of the ninth. Ryan Targac hit a two-run home run and Jordan Thompson added a solo shot for the 12-5 lead.

Reliever Will Johnston came on and sat the Rebels down in order in the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory.

It also closed out a remarkable regular season resurgence.

A&M struggled early. The Aggies lost a February series to Penn and entered SEC play with a modest 10-6 record. They also had to overcome key injuries.

Their turnaround has been nothing short of amazing.

“Guys kept playing, kept believing, bought into a system, bought into a culture,” Schlossnagle said.

“Hope we’re not finished yet. We’ve got a lot more baseball to play.”

Discussion from...

No. 6 Texas A&M claims first-ever SEC West crown with series win in Oxford

11,570 Views | 15 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by Tamu_mgm
LatinAggie1997
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jigsaw87
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SABUILDERAG
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"Attitude reflect leadership" and we haven't had a winning attitude like this team has in a long time. Props to Schloss for creating great culture in year one.
TAM85
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La Vernia_Ag06
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el_guapo
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Went from last to first in the west in one year. Crazy. Congratulations to Schloss , staff and team for a remarkable turnaround
MR Gadsden
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Minnich hit that elusive 6 run grand slam to make it 11-5 apparently.
sharpdressedman
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cageybee77
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lagoag
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90ags
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Just a great perspective and definitely agree on change in culture ....think what was outlined as the quote of the write-up is spot on.

Had to take one on the chin hard yesterday and just kind of wear it. For the most part that's been kind of the formula all year. We've got to change that formula because you have to win more than two games in a weekend."

- A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle


______________________________________________________ Play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the back...
TAMU74
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aggie67,74&76
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TheChameleon
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AG
Fantastic win in the series finale and something we've made a habit of... Offense stepped up majorly and bullpen was awesome. Just another great series win and 7th in a row... Unbelievable streak and something this team should be really proud of. In this conference to win that many series in a row, extremely difficult. This was a fun series and man is this team battle tested heading into the postseason.

Great start to the game by the offense once again... Werner had two fantastic swings in his first 2 AB's. Showed real nice pop on the triple as he didn't even get all of it and it still went to the wall... And he's continuing to hit the ball with authority the other way with the double. Moss is also super natural hitting to the opposite field... Rock. Wow. The talent is obvious as well as the hitting ability, huge tying HR but he is a smart player also... That delayed steal in the 3rd led to a run, just a heads up play. Textbook. He is just a baseball player... What more can you say? He's been locked in for so long... Might be the toughest out in the conference. Kaler had a really nice game, started the big inning with the bunt single, he has been a sparkplug for so many rallies this year. Just has a knack for it. Another walk and played good defense. Bost is a hitting machine... Minnich with the gigantic swing, he's had a ton of clutch hits for us. He has been so valuable in the middle of the order. Targac and Thompson with the late bombs... Every starter had a hit. The depth is amazing. Baserunning was also great in this series, love the aggression and it was smart & well-timed.

Thought Prager was OK, offspeed stuff was solid. Maybe wasn't getting a ton of swings and misses overall which made things a bit more difficult... Ole Miss battled and took advantage of a couple missed locations. That lineup is tough and they swung it well this weekend, great experience for Prager pitching in that environment. Awesome outing for Menefee, stabilized things and had the strikeout working... Breaking ball was nasty. Big double play against Dunhurst who had been giving us issues all series... Palisch was really good also, double play of Elko... Nice job by Hogan & Johnston closing it out, didn't allow a baserunner.

What a way to finish the regular season and clinch the SEC West, and like usual it was a team effort... Spectacular year so far and the entire roster, staff, & everyone involved with the team should really be commended. It's been a lot of fun to watch & like Schloss said still a lot of baseball left... So excited to see how it unfolds.
Tamu_mgm
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AG
Scholss proving in 1 season how much of a value and upgrade he is to this baseball program. He deserves national coach of the year.
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