HOOVER, Ala. -- Texas A&M beat defending champion Florida 12-5 to capture its first SEC Baseball Tournament title since joining the conference in 2012.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team and the road that we took this week after losing to Vanderbilt in Game 1," said Texas A&M coach Rob Childress. "We had to find a way to win the next game and get rolling offensively the rest of the week and continuing that today. I couldn't be more proud of the group of seniors and the leadership that we have. We got a lot of bruises and scars trying to figure out what it takes to compete at this level. It's nice that they got to dog pile their team at the end of the day."
Facing Florida right-hander Logan Shore, J.B. Moss and Nick Banks hit back-to-back singles to start the first inning for the Aggies. Boomer White grounded into a double play to bring Moss home and get the Aggies on the board.
A walk, a wild pitch and a groundout put Mike Rivera on third base in the top of the second. With Florida's tying run 90 feet away, Texas A&M escaped the inning with a kick save from pitcher Turner Larkins to Austin Homan, who made a bare-handed throw to first to end the frame.
Right-hander Frank Rubio took over on the mound for Florida in the bottom of the second inning. Joel Davis, Hunter Melton and Homan delivered three straight singles for Texas A&M and the Aggies extended their lead to 2-0 when the Homan single brought Davis home.
The Gators' first hit of the day came on a single by Nelson Maldonado in the third. Maldonado advanced to second on a wild pitch and when Guthrie reached on a throwing error, Maldonado crossed the plate to make the score 2-1. An RBI single by Rivera knotted the score at 2-2.
Texas A&M pulled ahead again in the bottom of the inning when Banks launched a home run into the trees. Florida responded in the next inning by tying the game again on a single by Maldonado.
The Gators brought in Michael Byrne from the bullpen for the bottom of the fifth, which was a 1-2-3 inning for the freshman right-hander.
Jonathan India singled to left field and then stole second to start the sixth for the Gators. Corbin Martin relieved TAMU starter Larkins on the bump. The Gators immediately answered by taking their first lead of the game with an RBI single by Danny Reyes. The Aggies went to the bullpen again, calling in Ty Schlottmann. After walking Jeremy Vasquez, Schlottmann was replaced by Cason Sherrod. Maldonado walked to load the bases and the Florida lead grew to 5-3 when a Reed grounder brought Reyes across the plate as the Aggies were unable to turn a double play.
The Aggies looked to cut into Florida's lead in the bottom of the sixth when Michael Barash knocked a shot to deep left, but Reyes made a leaping catch to rob the hit.
Andrew Vinson (4-2) took over on the mound for Texas A&M in the seventh, allowing no runs or hits in the inning. In the bottom of the frame the Aggies pulled ahead again with a two-run double from Moss. Immediately after Texas A&M regained the lead, Banks stepped up to the plate and crushed a two-run homer, his second home run of the day, to make the score 7-5. Banks is only the second player to hit two home runs in an SEC championship game. Florida called in Kirby Snead from the bullpen and the left-hander closed the inning without any additional damage.
Florida called in two more pitchers in the bottom of the eighth, but the Aggies continued to run up the score. Homan walked to bring another run across the plate, his tournament-leading ninth RBI. Moss followed with a bases-clearing double to increase the lead to 11-5. His five-RBI performance set a championship game record. Texas A&M tacked on one more run when White singled through the right side. Texas A&M is only the fifth team to score at least 10 runs in three straight games in a single SEC Tournament.
The 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament was attended by 150,064 fans, setting a record for the event.
P: Scott Moss, Florida
P: Brigham Hill, Texas A&M
P: Zac Houston, Mississippi State
C: Henri Lartigue, Ole Miss
DH: Jonathan Moroney, Texas A&M
1B: JJ Schwarz, Florida
2B: Ryne Birk, Texas A&M
3B: Colby Bortles, Ole Miss
SS: Austin Homan, Texas A&M
OF: Nick Banks, Texas A&M
OF: J.B. Woodman, Ole Miss
OF: Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt
Tournament MVP: Nick Banks, Texas A&M