COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M rebounded from a six-run loss with a six-run victory of its own in a 7-1 defeat of TCU in the second game of an NCAA Tournament super regional.
The old Southwest Conference foes and new postseason rivals will play a third and deciding game on Sunday night in Blue Bell Park, with a berth in the College World Series on the line.
“I’m proud of our defense for making plays and getting us off the field, and the offense did the rest,” A&M starting pitcher Kyle Simonds said.
Simonds allowed a lone run over 7 2/3 innings, offering up nearly as an impressive performance as his no-hitter on May 7 against Vanderbilt — or at least one more important to the Aggies’ fortunes.
“He had fastball command to both sides of the plate,” A&M catcher Mike Barash said of Simonds’ ability to control the Horned Frogs.
Neither of the first two contests were in doubt in the late innings — TCU (46-16) won the first game 8-2 on Friday night to shove A&M (49-15) into an uncomfortable corner on its home field.
The Aggies responded right out of the chute on Saturday night, as A&M leadoff hitter J.B. Moss blasted a home run over the left-field fence in the top of the first, and three of his teammates added solo homers later in the game: Jonathan Moroney, Barash and Hunter Melton.
The Aggies served as the visiting team in Saturday’s game and will be back as the home team on Sunday. A&M likely will start sophomore Turner Larkins in the deciding game, coach Rob Childress said. Larkins allowed a lone run over 5 2/3 innings against Minnesota in the Aggies’ regional-clinching victory a week ago. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said Brian Howard will start for the Horned Frogs.
A&M is trying to reach the CWS for the first time in five years, while TCU is aiming for its third straight trip to Omaha. A year ago, the Horned Frogs edged the Aggies 5-4 in 16 innings in a third and deciding game of a super regional in Fort Worth.
A&M’s players have long chatted of payback for last year’s dramatics at Lupton Stadium, and TCU is aware.
“They’re going to be amped up,” TCU catcher Evan Skoug said of yet another ballyhooed game three in a super regional. “And we’re going to be amped up.”