BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies erupted for a pair of big innings and took care of the No. 4 Florida Gators in exclamatory fashion with a 15-2 win in seven innings on Saturday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Texas A&M (27-20, 10-13 SEC) scored eight times in the fourth inning and six more times in the sixth to pick up its second run-rule win of SEC play in 2023 and hand the Gators (37-11, 15-8 SEC) their most lopsided defeat of the year.
A trio of Aggies turned in three-hit performances, but it was Austin Bost who led the team with four RBI, including a three-run homer in the sixth that put A&M in position for a short contest. Hunter Haas opened the scoring with a solo homer in the third off of Gator starter Hurston Waldrep and finished a triple short of the cycle. Jordan Thompson also delivered three hits and three RBI while Kasen Wells also singled three times for his first career multi-hit effort.
On the mound Troy Wansing received the start and struck out five before being lifted in the fourth inning after 3.2 scoreless innings of work. At the time of his departure the Aggies were up just 1-0 with a pair of runners on, prompting the Aggies to go to Chris Cortez out of the pen. The righty got Cade Kurland to ground out to get out of the jam and he went on to allow just one run in 2.1 innings to earn his second win of the year.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS
Hunter Haas - 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, 3 R
Jordan Thompson - 3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB
Kasen Wells - 3-for-3, 2 R, RBI, BB
Austin Bost - 1-for-1, HR, 4 RBI, SF, 2 R, BB, HBP
Jack Moss - 1-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
Chris Cortez - (W, 2-0) 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
The Aggies will look to take the series from the Gators on Sunday in the weekend finale. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. and will be aired on SEC Network+ with Will Johnson and Boomer White on the call. The game will also be aired locally on 1150 AM / 93.7 FM The Zone with Andrew Monaco, Rody Barker and Scott Clendenin in the booth.
B3 | A&M 1, UF 0
Hunter Haas broke the ice on the scoring column in a loud way, opening up the bottom of the third inning with a 404-foot solo home run to left field to put the Aggies in front.
B4 | A&M 9, UF 0
The Aggies followed up taking the lead by breaking the game open with a massive fourth inning, scoring eight times against three Gator pitchers. Each of the first five A&M hitters of the inning reached base with Haas delivering the first big hit of the frame, doubling into the right-field corner to plate Austin Bost and Kasen Wells. Two batters later a grounder by Trevor Werner scored another run and Jordan Thompson delivered two batters later against reliever Blake Purnell with a two-run single of his own to push the lead to 6-0. Releiver Nick Ficarrotta then entered and after uncorking a wild pitch, was the victim of a Gator error that allowed Jace LaViolette to come home. A sac fly from Bost followed to score Thompson and Wells capped the scoring when he singled into shallow right field to score Ryan Targac.
T5 | A&M 9, UF 1
Florida finally got on the board when Jac Calianone went the other way and hit a solo homer off the Blue Bell Park scoreboard. The homer was his 27th of the season, setting a new single-season record for the Florida Gator program.
B6 | A&M 15, UF 1
A second big inning put the Aggies in range of a run-rule win, and it didn't take long to put it into effect. Thompson singled to open the inning, his third hit of the game, and Targac worked a walk to set up Bost who blasted a three-run homer to left field off reliever Anthony Ursitti to put the Aggies up 12-1. Singles by Wells and Haas kept things going and Jack Moss picked up an RBI with a single to right field, followed by an RBI double from Werner. Two batters later Thompson singled again, this time to left field to score Moss.
T7 | A&M 15, UF 2
With the game in hand for the Aggies, Florida emptied the bench and was able to push across a run in its final at-bat. A leadoff single by pinch hitter Dale Thomas was compounded by a pair of wild pitches, the second scoring him from third base with one out. Two batters later Rene Lastres grounded into a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
On the big win today after a tough loss last night...
"Last night was a tough one to swallow, you know, as we've had some bad losses. It's been an up and down year, but last night was a really tough one because I felt we played really well. So, you know, Troy made a big pitch in the second inning and then kept them down a little bit. Then, obviously, they gave us some free bases and we got the big hits. Hunter's double, [Jordan Thompson] had a great day... It felt like 1,000 pounds came off everybody's shoulders when [Austin] Bost finally saw one go out of the ballpark, so maybe that will spark him."
Senior Infielder Austin Bost
On his pregame meeting with Coach Schlossnagle and how it impacted his performance today...
"Yeah, it was nice. He kind of just settled me down. Just told me to keep on playing, keep on pushing, making good swings. Stuff isn't going my way, but I can't let it weigh all on my shoulders. So, it was good to talk to him about that before this game."
Junior Infielder Hunter Haas
On handing Florida their heaviest loss of the season today...
"Yeah, I think it was huge. We felt good last night about our approach as a team and kind of how we played, it just didn't turn out how we wanted to. So we just wanted to do the same aggressive approach on offense back to them tonight, and we were able to string together two really good innings, which was good."
Senior Outfielder Jordan Thompson
On the offensive explosion today...
"We're a really good offense. Coach always preaches, 'swing at the strikes, take the balls,' and that's exactly what we did today. We frustrated the [Florida] starting pitcher today. You could tell he was grimacing on the mound because he was like "Oh, why aren't they chasing?" Because we're waiting on our pitch. I think that's really what our offense is about, at least the last six games or so."