June 2, 2013


Texas A&M eliminates UC Santa Barbara


By Patrick Meyers

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Texas A&M started off strong Sunday and managed to keep the lead late from a rallying UC Santa Barbara. The Aggies led 4-0 going into the seventh, when the Gauchos scored three, but it wasn’t enough as Texas A&M survived with a 5-4 win.


Rafael Pineda gave the Aggies a strong start, but the game could have gone either way late with the Aggies slumping and the Gauchos streaking, but the Aggies’ pitching staff cooled down the late-burning Gauchos. Pineda was pulled in the seventh after giving up two hits, a walk and hitting a batter.


“I am proud of our guys,” Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. “We played well and our backs have been up against the wall for at least the last six weeks. Since we have been in that position, I don’t think our team has had a whole lot of fear.”


In the third, Aggies first baseman Cole Lankford hit a double to bring in Jace Statum and Mikey Reynolds.  By the end of the inning, A&M (34-28) had a 4-0 lead and seemed in control.

Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the bats got going for the Gauchos (35-25).

UCSB got to Pineda when Tyler Kuresa singled in a run. Pineda left with two outs after hitting a batter and walking another one. Kyle Martin relieved, and pinch-hitter Joe Winterburn singled to center to score two and cut the deficit to 5-4. Jason Jester entered and got out of the inning and finished with 2.1 innings of one-hit relief for his 14th save.

Pineda (6-5) finished with 6.2 innings, seven hits and four runs (three earned).

“I didn’t put any added pressure on myself,” Pineda said. “I needed to just stay in the moment and know that the strike zone was going to be the same that it has for the last 56 games.”


In the end, the Gauchos came up a run short.


“Another close ball game,” UCSB coach Andrew Checketts said. “Texas A&M played a nice game, put pressure on us early and we weren’t able to hold them off. Our closer came in and did a nice job. I’m proud of our kids and their effort, where our program has come and the turnaround in our season.”