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Minnich Magic: Texas A&M Completes Comeback, Walks Off South Carolina

After being down 8-0 in the second inning, Texas A&M completes the comeback with a walk off home run against South Carolina

They say it isn't over until the fat lady sings. Texas A&M looked down after the second inning. Madame stayed quiet until the bottom of the ninth. 

The No. 13 Aggies chipped away against an 8-0 deficit through seven frames to grab the eventual 13-12 win over South Carolina. The victory gives A&M (30-15, 14-9) its fifth consecutive series win against conference opponents. 

"We were down eight-to-nothing in the second, so at that point, we are not playing to score, we are playing our game," infielder Ryan Targac said. "It showed too because we came back, and we walked it off.” 

The Aggies relied heavily on the long ball to do most of the damage, smacking three home runs for nine of its 13 runs. Targac put A&M back in the running with his grand slam in the fourth to make it 9-5. Trevor Werner would blast a two-run shot in to make it 11-9 in the eighth. 

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The hero of the night was outfielder Brett Minnich, who crossed home plate to an uproar from the Aggie faithful. With a runner on first and two outs in the ninth, Minnich launched one straight to center field, watching the ball bounce off the 400-foot sign for a two-run homer. 

A sigh of relief came from Minnich as he rounded third. An uproar of applause filled the afternoon sky at Olsen Field with a walk-off.

“I just put a good swing on it… I hit it and I knew I got it, but I just looked at the center fielder to see what he was doing," Minnich said postgame. "When he started jogging back, I knew that it had gotten in that Olsen Field wind, so it felt good… It is great to be a part of that win."

While celebrating Minnich's revival inside the walls of Blue Bell Park, a myriad of errors put the Aggies in a difficult predicament. A&M made two costly throws.

The worst came from pitcher Micah Dallas that would have induced a double play. Missing catcher Troy Claunch, the ball rolled to the backstop, allowing the Gamecocks (23-22, 9-14) to plate one and extend the lead by three. 

After that, Dallas' day was erratic. He allowed three consecutive hits and a walk that tacked on four and made it 7-0. The junior left-hander would be relieved after 1 1/3 innings. Things continued to unravel with Wyatt Tucker, who allowed another run in the inning to make it 8-0. 

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A&M manager Jim Schlossnagle said postgame that the Aggies had one of two options; hang their heads or start a new game. They chose the latter and used every bit of the 'Olsen Magic' to complete the comeback. 

“I don’t think there was ever a doubt in our dugout,” infielder Rody Barker said. “We just needed a little bit of a spark. 

"Everybody was pretty locked in.”

Barker was called on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth. After his leadoff double, Werner smacked the two-run homer. Jack Moss and Dylan Rock singled, while Austin Bost drew a walk and forced a pitching change with the bases loaded. 

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It didn't matter. Claunch drilled an RBI single past a diving shortstop to score two and put the Aggies down by one. An inning later, the rest was history. 

Schlossnagle said that in the fourth inning, he thought of pulling Claunch to be fresh for the series finale on Sunday. He wanted to see if they'd score a run first. After a walk to Minnich to put the Aggies on the board, the plan changed. 

So did the outcome for the Ags. 

“We have such a resilient group in here,” Minnich said. “There’s never a time when we think we’re out of this. We had nobody on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth down by one and ended up winning the game.”


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