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Texas A&M
Oral Roberts
Texas A&M Baseball

#5 Texas A&M overpowers Oral Roberts in regional opener, 8-2

June 3, 2022

Game #56: #5 Texas A&M 8, Oral Roberts 2
Records: Texas A&M (38-18, 19-11), Oral Roberts (38-19, 17-7)
WP: Micah Dallas (6-3)
LP: Ledgend Smith (7-5)
Box Score

Remember those old days for Texas A&M when erratic defense and relief pitching were cause for concern?

That was a different time. And seemingly a different team.

The top-seeded Aggies (38-18) excelled in all three facets in an 8-2 victory over fourth-seeded Oral Roberts (38-19) in the NCAA Baseball Tournament College Station Regional opener on Friday afternoon at Blue Bell Park.

A&M advances to the winner’s bracket on Saturday. The Aggies face the winner of Friday night’s clash between second-seeded TCU and third-seeded Louisiana.

Starting pitcher Micah Dallas (6-3) allowed one run in five innings to pick up the win for A&M. ORU left-hander Ledgend Smith (7-5) took the loss despite a solid showing in which he gave up three runs — two unearned — and struck out six in 4.1 innings.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Menefee punched out seven in 3.0 IP.

Smith got minimal run support as defensive gems — including a pair of double plays — thwarted Oral Roberts’ scoring threats. So did Joseph Menefee, who pitched three clutch innings of brilliant relief.

Menefee allowed just two hits and one run while striking out seven in three innings.

“He’s got two really good pitches,” ORU head coach Ryan Folmar said of Menefee. “If you’re looking for one and he throws the other, you’re in trouble. I think we got caught in between several times.”

Speaking of relief, Austin Bost blasted a three-run home run in the seventh, and Jack Moss ripped a two-run double in the eighth, which allowed the Aggies to finally breathe easily.

“For as poorly as we played defense in our last game (a 9-0 SEC Tournament loss to Florida), we played really good defense,” A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I think we turned at least two double plays during Micah’s (Dallas) innings. (Trevor) Werner made some really nice plays.

“(Dallas) pitched out of trouble, kept us in the ball games. Moo (Menefee) kind of settled the storm, and Austin’s homer took a whole heck of a lot of pressure off.”

The Aggies committed eight errors in three games in the SEC Tournament. Their defense appeared worrisome again in the second inning. A throwing error by Dallas contributed to the visiting Golden Eagles taking a 1-0 lead and putting two runners on base with one out.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Jordan Thompson’s second-inning homer put the Aggies on top, 2-1.

But Werner fielded a hard smash at third base and executed a double play to end the inning.

ORU’s Mac McCroskey led off the third inning with a single, but one out later, Dallas got Jackson Loftin to ground into another double play.

ORU also had runners at the corners with two out in the fourth, but Werner made a nice play to end that threat.

“We spent time on (defense) all week,” Schlossnagle said. “We did a few different things. We tried to make things a little more game-like vs. just hitting repetitive ground balls one after the other. We tried to do some game-like things and play some balls live. For the most part, we did a nice job today.”

The good defensive efforts helped the Aggies protect a 3-1 lead they had built on the strength of a Jordan Thompson two-run homer and a Bost sacrifice fly.

That lead became precious in the seventh.

Menefee, who relieved Dallas in the sixth, issued a one-out walk. He appeared to get out of the inning by getting Jake McMurray to hit a tailor-made double-play ball, but second baseman Ryan Targac misplayed it for a two-base error.

Undaunted, Menefee struck out two-hitter McCroskey and three-hitter Caleb Denny.

“[Menefee] almost had an inning-ending double play,” Schlossnagle said. “Now, the game’s on the line, 3-1, (runners on) second and third and the middle of the order, and he gets strikeouts.

“That’s what this team has been about all year long. Something ugly happens, and they fight right back.”

“That’s what this team has been about all year long. Something ugly happens, and they fight right back.”
- A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle

The counterpunch in the bottom of the inning was a knockout, and it was a thing of beauty.

Kole Kaler and Jack Moss were on base with one out. Folmar brought in right-hander Kaleb McCullough, the Golden Eagles’ third pitcher.

One out later, Bost launched a 2-0 pitch that soared way over the left-field fence and hit the Rec Center on the bounce.

ORU managed a run in the eighth, but the Aggies answered in the bottom of the inning with Moss’ double to score Thompson and Werner.

“They were mixing me well all day,” Bost said. “That lefty (Smith) is good for a reason. They brought in the righty (McCullough), and he threw some good pitches away.

“Then he brought the fastball in. I was able to pull my hands inside and get a good swing on it. Good things happen when you put good swings on it.”

Discussion from...

#5 Texas A&M overpowers Oral Roberts in regional opener, 8-2

8,393 Views | 6 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by aggie67,74&76
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I think I saw some erratic defense.
Still a good win.
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Fantastic opening win. It wasn't easy for a good part of the game, give ORU credit, they showed up ready to play. It was close for a while... But we grinded as usual and over the course of the 9 innings we were able to pull away. Got the knockout punch so to speak on the late HR, nice insurance after, and solid pitching & defense to go along with it.

Thought Dallas was good... Maybe not as sharp as Florida, ORU was able to put the ball in play and put some pressure on. That's what they do though, not a ton of power but they get base hits and get guys on base. Dallas made some big time pitches when he needed to though and got out of jams... Huge double plays and he got a lot of groundballs. He located well and just made pitches when he had to... Really solid outing overall. Menefee was obviously phenomenal. His fastball/slider combo is nasty... The depth he can get on his breaking ball is so difficult to deal with for hitters. Fastball has great life and a tremendous job getting out of the 2nd and 3rd, 1 out jam. Clutch performance. Rudis was very good, nice job throwing strikes and getting weak contact. Defense was better overall, bit of a tough hop on the ball to Targac... Werner was fabulous at 3rd, those were big league plays he made over there. Extremely impressive.

Offense does what the offense does... We kept battling and in the end were able to get the big swings to get separation on the scoreboard. Werner had good swings, nice job setting the tone... Thompson with a huge HR early- we really needed that, it was a shot in the arm. Moss with a 3 hit day and insurance double late... Rock had really good AB's. Bost with the massive HR in the 7th... Really awesome job pulling his hands in and crushing that pitch. Minnich swung it well and Kaler got on base... We really competed, I thought Smith threw the ball well and mixed things up. He was throwing all his pitches for strikes and his fastball had some life... We really stuck with it, got his pitch count up and grinded out AB's like usual. Great approach by us.

Overall a great way to start the regional and we're in really good shape now... Dettmer going tonight and as always feel really great about our offense going forward this weekend. Olsen should be electric tonight and we've got a chance to start off 2-0 now... Louisiana will be fired up so need to keep that same mindset we've had and play like we have been... Can't wait.
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