The Texas A&M Aggies notched their first SEC baseball title in school history Sunday after knocking out the defending champion Florida Gators 12-5 in Hoover, Alabama.
It certainly qualified as a marquee matchup, as the Gators and Aggies are the top two teams in college baseball—No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, per the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Texas A&M trailed 5-3 going into the seventh inning, but it exploded for nine unanswered runs to win the game.
Turner Larkins went 5.1 innings and allowed a pair of earned runs. Here is a look at the Aggies' full lineup, courtesy of the team's Twitter account:
Florida ace Logan Shore only tossed one inning, but he allowed a run. The Gators also provided their full starting lineup:
Shore's quick outing was in preparation for regional play, per Florida:
Frank Rubio came on in relief, finishing with two runs allowed on six hits in three innings.
After the teams were tied through 2.5 innings, Texas A&M's Nick Banks provided the highlight of the early afternoon when he blasted a solo shot to give the Aggies the lead. The ball left the stadium, via the SEC Network:
D1Baseball.com's Kendall Rogers noted that Banks has put on a strong showing during the tournament:
Florida got the run back, though, as Nelson Maldonado hit a two-out single to drive in Jeremy Vasquez.
The Gators threatened to score again in the sixth, as they got a runner on second with one out. Texas A&M removed Larkins in favor of Corbin Martin, but Danny Reyes singled to center to give Florida the 4-3 lead.
Reyes was a standout for Florida, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Gator Country's Nick de la Torre mentioned that Reyes was solid throughout the tournament:
The sixth inning temporarily appeared to be a turning point of the afternoon. The Aggies used three different pitchers, but the Gators were able to bring in two runs. Buddy Reed added an RBI after beating out a double-play ball at first.
Reyes then flashed the leather for this nice catch at the wall during the bottom half of the inning, as shown by the SEC Network:
He also received some props from NFL Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas:
Even though he only played in 17 games this season, Reyes kept Florida in the game Sunday.
Texas A&M, after an eighth-inning comeback against Mississippi on Saturday, again surged late in the game.
The Aggies racked up four runs in the seventh to turn the momentum in their favor. After a single and an error at third base, J.B. Moss doubled to tie it, and then Banks struck again with a bomb to center field. The SEC Network again provided a look at the jack:
Florida entered the game with college baseball's top fielding percentage, so the costly error was an uncharacteristic mistake.
Texas A&M would tack on five more runs in the eighth to effectively seal the game. Again, Moss was largely responsible:
Florida was unable to recover from its late collapse, as the Gators went scoreless over their next six outs to drop the game.
Despite the outcome, both teams appear to be strong candidates to earn a national seed for regional play. Florida's pitching staff, which leads the SEC in ERA, and Texas A&M's conference-leading team batting average give each squad a distinct strength to rise moving forward.
The college baseball selection show will air Monday at noon ET on ESPNU. During that time, the eight national seeds, 16 regional hosts and 64 regional schools will be announced. Regional play will start on Friday.
Expect at least one of these teams to end up in Omaha, Nebraska, for the 2016 College World Series.
All Florida individual statistics are courtesy of FloridaGators.com.
Team statistics are courtesy of NCAA.com.