COLLEGE STATION, Texas - George Janca gapped a walk-off single to left-center in the ninth inning to give the Texas A&M Aggies a 2-1 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers to open the series Friday afternoon on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Tied 1-1 in the ninth, Braden Shewmake led off the frame by punching a single up the middle off Tennessee starting pitcher Hunter Martin. The Aggies got a second man aboard when Martin was unsuccessful on making a leaping catch of a bunt by Hunter Coleman. Cole Bedford pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and the Volunteers intentionally walked Blake Kopetsky to fill the bags with Ags. Janca ended the game by blasting the first pitch he saw in the at-bat to the gap where it landed for the walkoff single.
After six blank frames, Texas A&M (27-12, 9-7 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the seventh when Shewmake hammered a 1-2 offering over the fence in right-center for his fifth home run of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Tennessee (19-16, 4-12 SEC) responded immediately with a run in the eighth. With one out, Jeff Moberg roped a ball to centerfield where Nick Choruby's attempt at a diving catch came up short and Moberg wheeled around to third with a triple. Mitchell Kilkenny got Justin Ammons to swing and miss at strike three for the second out of the inning, but he was unable to retire Jordan Rodgers who slipped a ball past the glove of a diving shortstop Austin Homan up the middle to push the equalizer across.
Brigham Hill was left with no-decision despite the solid performance on the mound. He worked 7.0 blank frames, scattering five hits and one walk while striking out six. Kilkenny (3-1) earned the win, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out three in 2.0 innings.
Martin (4-4) was the tough-luck loser for the Volunteers. He allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out nine in 8.1 innings.
Shewmake led the Aggies at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs, one home run and one RBI.
Rodgers and Luc Lipcius each had two hits for Tennessee.
The Aggies and Volunteers return to action Saturday with a 2:02 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the game..."It was a hard-fought Friday afternoon game. Their pitcher was outstanding. He's a senior who knows how to pitch. Brigham (Hill) was every bit as outstanding as him and Hill couldn't have pitched any better. He had to battle a little bit but we made some big plays behind him getting out of a big jam in the first and the pickoff in the sixth. I couldn't be more proud of our guys for keeping it close and finding a way to win."
On the Vols triple in the eighth... "That's all you can ask for from (Nick) Choruby. He's made a lot of those plays before in center field and we responded. We got a big strikeout and just like that we had a chance to get off the field. We didn't panic. (Mitchell) Kilkenny threw up another zero in the ninth giving us a chance to win it in the bottom half."