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Tenth-inning Heroics Give A&M 6-5 Win at Arkansas

May 11, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – The Texas A&M Aggies used 10th-inning heroics at the plate and on the mound to stave off the series sweep in a 6-5 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium on Sunday.

Logan Nottebrok offered up the game-winning hit in the top of the 10th. Nottebrok launched the second pitch from Arkansas closer Michael Gunn over the fence in leftfield to break the 5-5 tie. A&M came close to adding two more runs but Razorbacks rightfielder Tyler Spoon made a diving catch in the right-center gap to rob Ryne Birk of an extra-base hit and two RBI.

AJ Minter provided the heroics on the mound in the home half of the 10th. With Andrew Vinson dealing for the Aggies, Michael Bernal drew a five-pitch walk. Clark Eagan squared to bunt, but was awarded first base on a hit-by-pitch despite fouling the ball off. Joe Serrano drew a five-pitch walk to fill the bags with pork products and no outs. Minter came in from the bullpen and got Andrew Benintendi to swing-and-miss at a 2-2 offering and caught Brian Anderson looking at a 1-2 strike for the second out. Eric Fisher worked the count to 3-2 but hit a lazy fly ball to Krey Bratsen for the final out of the game.

Trailing 4-3 in the top of the ninth, the Aggies pulled the game from the jaws of defeat with a pair of runs. Bratsen was hit by a pitch to start the frame and replaced at first when Blake Allemand bounced into a fielder’s choice at second base. After Ryne Birk popped up to first for the second out of the inning, Cole Lankford belted a single to rightfield. Nick Banks drilled a 1-0 offering to leftfield, scoring Allemand with the equalizer and Lankford came around to score the go-ahead run when Joe Serrano misplayed the ball in leftfield to give A&M a 5-4 advantage.

Texas A&M (31-21, 13-14 SEC) was unable to seal the deal in the bottom of the ninth. Benintendi reached base on a fielding error at second by Birk. Anderson followed by threading a single through the left side of the infield. Fisher put down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position.

The Aggies drew first blood in the top of the fourth. With one out, Jonathan Moroney worked an eight-pitch walk and Logan Nottebrok followed by threading a double down the leftfield line to put two runners in scoring position. Troy Stein was issued a walk on five pitches to load the bases. Jace Statum hit a grounder to short that was too slow to turn the double play, scoring Moroney with the first run of the game. With runners on the corners, Razorback starter Dominic Taccolini uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Nottebrok. Statum moved to second on the wild pitch and came across to score when Blake Allemand drove a single up the middle to stake A&M to a 3-0 advantage.

Arkansas (32-21, 13-14 SEC) responded with a run in the home half of the fourth to cut the Aggie lead to 3-1. Benintendi bounced a single up the middle to start the frame. Brian Anderson snaked a single through the left side of the infield and Fisher hit a deep fly out to rightfield on Parker Ray’s 11th offering of the at-bat to put runners on the corners. Tyler Spoon was issued a base on balls on six pitches to load the bases. The Razorbacks got on the scoreboard when Bobby Wernes hit a chopper back to the mound that was too high to retire Benintendi at home or turn the double play.

The Razorbacks tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Spoon and Wernes pounded back-to-back singles to the same spot in rightfield. Spoon was retired at third for the second out of the inning when Jake Wise grounded to short for a fielder’s choice. Ray got ahead of Bernal 1-2, but the Arkansas shortstop fouled off the fourth pitch and roped the fifth offering into rightfield for an RBI single. With Ty Schlottmann on to work in relief, Eagan laced a single through the left side of the infield to plate Wise, knotting the game at 3-3.

Arkansas took the lead in the seventh when Anderson deposited a one-out double down the leftfield line and scored on a single to centerfield by Fisher for the 4-3 advantage.

Neither starter figured in the final decision. Ray allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five in 5.2 innings for A&M. Taccolini allowed three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three over 3.2 innings of work for Arkansas.

Vinson (3-2) earned the win in relief. He allowed one unearned run on two hits and three walks while striking out one in 2.0 innings. Minter retired all three batters he faced in the ninth, including two strikeouts to earn his first career save.

Nottebrok dined on swine, going 3-for-4 with one double, one home run, two runs and one RBI to lead the Aggie attack.

Anderson paced Arkansas, going 3-for-6 with one run and one double. Eagan went 2-for-4 with one hit-by-pitch, one double and one RBI. Bernal was also 2-for-4 with

The Aggies return to action on Tuesday when they host the Sam Houston State Bearkats in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.


Head Coach Rob Childress
Overall thoughts...
We kept hanging in there. We almost gave it away a couple of times, but AJ Minter wouldn’t allow that. I’m proud of the way we battled.

On what he told AJ Minter...
I told him “Heck of a mess I left you with. Now let’s get out of it.” And low-and-behold he did.

Sophomore relief pitcher AJ Minter
On coming in with bases loaded...
The situations don’t get any bigger than that. You just come in and do what you can do. You can’t put them anywhere so you have pitch to them.

On if he was thinking strikeouts...
You have to. Most pitches put in play will score a run.

On if he was nervous...
Coming in from the bullpen I had goose bumps running down my neck. But you want to be in those situations.

Junior third baseman Logan Nottebrok
On what he thought coming up for his at-bat in the 10th inning...
I saw the guys in the dugout and you can see in everybody’s face that they were still in the fight. I just wanted to lead off the inning by putting a good swing on a pitch and getting a base runner, but he left me a cookie.

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