HOUSTON, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies scored five runs in the sixth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit en route to an 8-5 victory over the Baylor Bears in the first game of the NCAA Division I Championship Houston Regional Friday at Schroeder Park.
Nick Choruby paced the Aggies at the plate, batting 4-for-5 with two doubles, one run and two RBI. Braden Shewmake batted 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI on a game-tying home run.
Texas A&M (37-21) pounced on the Bears for two runs in the top of the first inning. Choruby poked the second pitch of the game into rightfield for a leadoff single. After Jorge Gutierrez looked at strike three for the first out of the inning, Shewmake drove a single up the middle. Centerfielder Richard Cunningham's throw to third sailed into an out-of-play photographer area, allowing Choruby to score. The error also put Shewmake on third from where he would score on Hunter Coleman's sacrifice fly, staking the Aggies to a 2-0 margin.
Baylor (34-22) claimed the lead with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Cunningham singled through the right side of the infield. Brigham Hill fanned Shea Langeliers for the second out of the inning, but he loaded the bases by walking Kameron Esthay and hitting Matt Menard with a pitch. Aaron Dodson made him pay by hitting a 2-1 offering over the leftfield fence for a grand slam and the 4-2 edge.
The Aggies wrangled the lead back from the Bears with five runs in the sixth. Gutierrez started the rally with a four-pitch walk and Shewmake drove the seventh pitch of his at-bat off the scoreboard in rightfield for a game-tying two-run home run. After Coleman drew a five-pitch walk, Baylor starter Montana Parsons was relieved on the mound.
Tied 4-4 with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth, Blake Kopetsky greeted reliever Kyle Hill with a sacrifice bunt back to the mound. Hill's throw sailed wide of first, putting both runners in scoring position with his error. Hill then uncorked a wild pitch allowing Coleman to score the go-ahead run. Cole Bedford plated Kopetsky with a sacrifice bunt. Cam Blake, George Janca and Austin Homan were all issued a base on balls to fill the bags with Ags and Choruby singled to left field, scoring Pennington as A&M's lead ballooned to 7-4.
Baylor shaved a run off the lead in the home half of the sixth. Menard bounced a single up the middle to start the frame and Dotson followed with a six-pitch walk. Aaron Wendzel threaded a single through the left side to put three Bears on the pond. A fielder's choice grounder by third scored Menard as Wendzel was retired at second. The Aggies made the call to the bullpen and Kaylor Chafin responded by inducing a 4-6-3 double play to limit the damage.
The Aggies tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth. With two outs, Austin Homan reached when third baseman Wendzel was unable to make the throw after make a tough play to gather a chopper at the bag. Choruby followed with a gapper to right-center, plating Homan with the double and inflating Texas A&M's cushion to 8-5.
Hill (8-3) worked in traffic much of his outing, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six in 5.1 innings to pick up the win. Chafin picked up his first career save, allowing just one if the 11 players he faced to reach base in 3.2 innings.
Parsons (5-4) worked 5.0 innings, plus three batters in the sixth, allowing five runs, four earned on five hits and three walks while striking out four.
The start of the game was delayed nine minutes and after the second inning, they sat through 42 minute delay.
The Aggies return to action Saturday when they face the Iowa Hawkeyes in a winner's bracket game at 7 pm at Schroeder Park.