HOUSTON, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies used a three-run home run by Cole Bedford and stellar performances on the mound by Corbin Martin, Cason Sherrod and Kaylor Chafin to post a 3-2 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in NCAA Division I Championship Houston Regional action Saturday evening at Schroeder Park.
With the triumph, Texas A&M (38-21) advanced to the championship of the double-elimination regional. Sunday evening at 8 pm, the Aggies will face the winner of the afternoon elimination game between host Houston and Iowa.
Martin (7-3) battled through 7.0 innings, plus one batter in the eighth, yielding just two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out nine to earn the win.
Iowa (39-21) broke the scoring seal in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Matt Hoeg flared a single to centerfield and Ben Norman drew a five-pitch walk to put two runners on. Mitchell Boe singled through the right side of the infield, plating Hoeg for the 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M wrangled the lead from the Hawkeyes in the fourth inning with Bedford's dinger. With one out, Hunter Coleman slashed a single to centerfield and Blake Kopetsky followed by slipping a single under the glove of first baseman Jake Adams diving into the hole. Bedford worked the count to 2-1 when he was unsuccessful in keeping a squeeze bunt fair. The next pitch he pounded over the fence in leftfield as the Aggies staked claim to a 3-1 margin.
The Hawkeyes responded with one run in the top of the fifth when Adams jacked a first-pitch offering over the leftfield fence for his 28th home run of the season.
Iowa threatened in the eighth with leadoff hitter Mason McCoy singling up the middle, driving Martin from the contest. Sherrod entered the game and needed just 13 pitches to strikeout the Hawkeyes' 3, 4 and 5 hitters.
Sherrod pitched effectively in the ninth, but found himself in a jam with runners at the corners, two outs and an 0-2 count on Chris Whelan. Chafin entered the contest, worked the count to full and then got Whelan to pop up to first base for the final out, earning his second career save one day after his first.
Iowa starter Nick Gallagher (8-2) worked 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four.
Bedford paced the Aggies at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one home run, one run and three RBI. Kopetsky batted 2-for-3 with one run.
The Hawkeyes got two hits apiece from McCoy, Adams and Boe.