The Davidson Wildcats lit the fuse for another storybook finish, but the Texas A&M Aggies doused it with some magic of their own, winning the first game of their super regional series 7-6 with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the 15th inning.
George Janca singled through the right side to score Braden Shewmake to end the 5-hour, 12-minute affair, which forces the Wildcats (35-25) to win two straight at Blue Bell Park to advance to the College World Series in their first time in the NCAA tournament.
“I’m getting a little tired of saying throughout this run what a great baseball game and it’s (a shame) somebody had to lose this one,” Davidson coach Dick Cooke said. “I’m tired and I didn’t even play.”
The Wildcats extended a game many had given to the Aggies after five innings, when Texas A&M was up 6-0 and Davidson was hitless.
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Janca’s hit came after Westin Whitmire got Baine Schoenvogel to foul out behind the plate and Walker Pennington to fly out to short right field with the bases loaded.
The Wildcats extended a game many had given to the Aggies (40-21) after five innings, when A&M was up 6-0 and Davidson was hitless.
Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, Davidson’s Brent Centracchio walked on four pitches to lead off the inning. Max Bazin sacrificed Centracchio to second for Cam Johnson, who singled up the middle for his third consecutive hit to tie the game.
Davidson had one good opportunity to take a lead in extra innings, getting Jake Sidwell to third with one out. The threat ended when Sidwell roamed too far down the line on a safety squeeze and was thrown out when Max Bazin watched a pitch go low. Bazin then singled, but Johnson struck out to end the inning.
I’m getting a little tired of saying ... what a great baseball game and it’s (a shame) somebody had to lose. ... I’m tired and I didn’t even play.
Davidson coach Dick Cooke
“Yeah, it was safety squeeze, we just got hung on third a little bit too far,” Cooke said. “They did a nice job of executing there. It was not a suicide squeeze.”
After being no-hit for five innings by Brigham Hill, the Wildcats put together a three-run fifth and two-run sixth to pull within 6-5.
The fifth started with a throwing error on Hill, allowing Brett Centracchio to reach safely. Max Bazin appeared to have the first hit, but was called out on a sacrifice bunt, advancing Centracchio.
Back at the top of the order, Cam Johnson did get the first hit, just missing a home run by a couple of feet and scoring Centracchio with a double off the wall. Will Robertson followed with double down the right-field wall to pull the Wildcats within 6-2 and extending his consecutive game streak of reaching base in 55 straight games.
Alec Acosta singled to left, advancing Robertson 90 feet and Brian Fortier’s sacrifice fly made it 6-3.
Hill got out of the inning, but did not return in the sixth, giving way to Kaylor Chafin, who had a 3 2/3-inning save in the first game of the Houston Regional.
Jake Sidwell greeted Chafin with a single and then the Wildcats caught a break when shortstop Austin Homan forced Sidwell at second but lazily threw the ball over first baseman Hunter Coleman’s head, allowing Centracchio to advance to second. Bazin’s infield single brought the tying run to the plate and Johnson nearly obliged, hitting another ball off the fence for a double to score Centracchio.
“No, I didn’t think [either ball went out]. The wind was blowing out so it definitely out a little bit,” Johnson said. “I knew I got them pretty good but I didn’t think they were homers.”
Cooke said he thought one of them was a home run.
The Aggies went to the pen again and brought in the hard-throwing Cason Sherrod, who quickly got ahead of Robertson 0-2 before the Wildcats’ leading hitter elevated a fly ball to bring home Bazin with a sacrifice fly.
A&M scored its first six runs off of Durin O’Linger, who gave up 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings. He threw 138 pitches, giving him 502 in the last 17 days.
A&M got a run in the first with Nick Choruby scoring after leading off with a double, two runs in the second on a Choruby double, a fourth run in the third on a Walker Pennington RBI single and two in the fifth on Hunter Coleman’s two-run homer, his fifth of the season.
Whitmire (3-4) was the hard-luck losing pitcher, giving up the winning run in his fourth inning of work and on his 65th pitch.
College Station, Texas
Game 1: Texas A&M 7, Davidson 6
Game 2: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, 6 p.m. (if necessary)