COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M got all five RBI from freshmen and the bullpen pitched six shutout innings as the Aggies notched a 6-3 win Saturday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to even their series against No. 11 Auburn Tigers at 1-1.
Jorge Gutierrez and Hunter Coleman each knocked in two runs and Cam Blake added a ribbie. Coleman led the Aggie offense, going 3-for-4 with one home run, two runs and two RBI.
Kaylor Chafin (3-1) earned the victory in relief. He pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out four. Mitchell Kilkenny earned his third save of the season, yielding two hits while striking out four in 2.1 shutout innings.
The Tigers pounced on the Aggies for three runs in the top of the first. Corbin Martin retired the first two batters of the innings swiftly with a first-pitch fly out by Luke Jarvis and a groundout by Jay Estes. After Jonah Todd looked at a 3-2 offering down the pipe for ball four, Daniel Robert followed with a single through the right side to put runners on the corners and Blake Logan hit a 3-1 pitch over the leftfield fence for a three-run home run, his second homer of the season.
The Aggies trimmed two runs off the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Coleman bounced a single up the middle and Blake reached on a fielding error by the shortstop. Walker Pennington put down a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position and Gutierrez rattled a double into the corner down the rightfield line to knock them both in, slashing the lead to 3-2.
Texas A&M claimed their first lead of the series in the bottom of the third. Coleman did the damage with a two-run home run over the fence in left-center, staking the Aggies to a 4-3 edge.
The Maroon and White added a run in the fifth. With two outs, Joel Davis punched a single up the middle and Coleman slapped a single down the rightfield line to put runners on the corners. Blake singled up the middle, scoring Davis for the 5-3 margin.
The Aggies' lead ballooned to 6-3 in the sixth. George Janca put down a bunt for a single and moved to second on an errant throw on the play. After Nick Choruby was hit by a pitch, Homan grounded out to the right side, moving both runners in scoring position. Braden Shewmake was hit by a pitch to fill the bags with Ags and Janca came home to score on a wild pitch.
Both squads squandered opportunities on the day. Auburn left 12 men on base and three players retired on the basepaths. The Aggies left nine runners on, all in the first six innings.
Keegan Thompson (4-1) was saddled with the loss for Auburn. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits and one walk while striking out six in 5.0 innings of work.
Auburn had four players log two hits apiece, including Jarvis, Robert, Logan and Conor Davis. The Tigers also drew eight walks on the day. The rubber match for the series is slated for 1:02 pm Sunday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES Head Coach Rob Childress On the bullpen...
"The last few weeks we've made a few changes. (Mitchell) Kilkenny was ready and eager to go back to the bullpen. (Cason) Sherrod has really come on and (Kaylor) Chafin has been a mainstay. I feel like the last couple of weeks are bullpen has been our strength. We certainly have gone to it in a big way in the last few days. We got three shutout innings from Sherrod yesterday and then the six shutout innings today that gave us a chance to come back and win this thing."
On the atmosphere... "A lot of people were in the stands today coming off the football game with parent's weekend and just like that we are down three-nothing. It's a little bit deflating but to answer back quickly and with life was really important." On his success at the plate... "He left some fastballs out in the zone and out over the plate and it's one of the things we pick up on is trying to dominate the fastball away. That's what we tried to do today. On the home run, I got that fast ball away and was able to put a good swing on it."
Junior LHP Kaylor Chafin On the bullpen's effort... "I think that was one of the better performances we've had out of the bullpen. There have been games where things just haven't gone our way. I got lucky to be able to throw up some zeroes and keep our team in it." Sophomore RHP Mitchell Kilkenny On his work as the closer... "I love this role. There's a lot of excitement and energy in the crowd every time I come in. I just have to give it my all for a little bit instead of the full game. The adrenaline plays a part in everything I do as closer. I'm just trying to go out and do the job coach asks of me."