Aggies walk off in thrilling Game 2 of Fall World Series

Zach Doss was mobbed by his Aggies teammates as he made his way down to first base, moments after he was plunked to bring in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Down 5-2 with only one out remaining, the Aggies loaded the bases before using four free passes — capped off by Doss’ hit by pitch — to give the Aggies a series-tying win over the Old Liners in the Fall World Series.

After the Old Liners got off to a hot start, with redshirt-junior Caleb Walls having a big night, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a single and a solo homer, the win seemed in the bag for the team. With Walls as leadoff hitter, the Old Liners put up three runs in the first two innings.

But the Old Liners offense, which held a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, wasn’t enough in the end.

The Aggies started their comeback in the fourth, putting up two runs off two wild pitches and an RBI-groundout from Doss that combined to score Max Costes and Kody Milton, respectively.

With an offense that lagged behind that of the Old Liners, it was the Aggies’ relief pitching that allowed for the late-inning comeback.

After relieving Zach Thompson in the second, left-hander Tuck Tucker went 2.2 innings, recording eight straight outs including four strikeouts.

Then, after a solid fifth inning from Tyler Blohm, redshirt sophomore Mike Vasturia threw a solid sixth inning and worked out of a jam in the top of the seventh to strand a runner at third after recording two strikeouts in a row. With that, the Aggies had a newfound momentum for a late-inning rally.

A walk from pinch-hitter Bryce Cunningham followed by a double down the third-base line from Ben Irvine and a walk to Michael Pineiro gave Costes the chance to give the Aggies the walk-off with two outs.

It took two more three more batters for the walk-off to come, after the Aggies worked four walks in a row and a final hit-by-pitch to seal the deal, making the late-inning comeback possible.

With the series tied at one game apiece, both teams will look claim the fall classic on Monday, with a Game 3 start time of 3:30 p.m.

 

Old Liners hold on against Aggies for Game 1 win in Fall World Series

Entering the fifth inning, the Old Liners were hitless in Game 1 of the Fall World Series but only trailed the Aggies by one run.

Once that hit came, an RBI-double from sophomore Randy Bednar, the Old Liners’ offense kept coming, and a two-run bottom of the fifth led them to their 3-2 win in the seven-inning contest.

“After something like that, you’re kind of more amped up, kind of more into it,” Bednar said.

The sophomore outfielder also scored the Old Liners’ first run, after a missed throw to first from Aggies freshman reliever Andrew Vail put him on second with no outs in the third inning.

A sacrifice fly from catcher Justin Vought drove home the run to tie the Aggies at one run apiece. The sophomore also pulled through for the Old Liners behind the plate, catching two runners stealing.

Bednar was just one of many underclassmen whose offensive production helped their respective team. For the Aggies, both runs came from freshman. Outfielder Max Costes knocked an RBI-double to right-center in the first frame, scoring first baseman Michael Pineiro from first with one out, giving the Aggies the early lead.

“The young guys have done a really good job this fall of buying in and really getting into what we’re doing here,” said senior A.J. Lee. “We had some big swings from young guys today… [they’re] really stepping into their own and they’re not feeling like freshmen anymore.”

Then, in his second at-bat of the night, freshman Kody Milton singled to second. He crossed the plate two wild pitches and a sacrifice squeeze later, scoring the Aggies’ temporary tie-breaking run in the fourth inning.

The Aggies also relied on freshman power on the mound. Right-hander Trevor LaBonte delivered two hitless innings to start, followed by a solid 2.1 innings from Vail.

“I think [LaBonte’s] going to be really good,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “A little bit of our success this season is going to be dictated on how fast some of our young pups grow up.”

A shutdown bottom of the sixth from redshirt-sophomore Mike Vasturia maintained the Old Liners’ one-run lead, giving the Aggies the chance for a comeback in the seventh and final inning.

“When you can get a 1-2-3 inning there, with us (the Aggies) down one going into the last inning, it’s huge,” said Lee. “The arms we ran out there today are really good. I think [with] the depth of our staff, I think we’re pretty good.”

The Aggies threatened in the top of the seventh, as junior Ben Irvine drew a leadoff walk. He then swiped second and moved to third on a wild pitch with only one out.

But Old Liners right-hander Elliot Zoellner, who came on the for save, kept Irvine 90 feet away. He induced a ground ball with the infield in to record the second out and registered the final out with a strikeout to secure the one-run victory in Game 1.

“That’s the best intersquad game we’ve played (in the two years the current coaching staff has been together)” Vaughn said. “As far as intensity, as far as communication, as far as young guys being involved in executing, that was one of the best we’ve had in two years.”

Game 2 of the Fall World Series will be at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, as the Aggies look to even the series.