SEC Baseball Championship 2016: Texas A&M vs. Florida Score, Reaction

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistMay 29, 2016

Texas A&M's Walker Pennington, lower right, is welcomed by teammates after Pennington hit a grand slam during the eighth inning of a Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament game against Mississippi at the Hoover Met, Saturday, May 28, 2016, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

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: 

Texas A&M Baseball @AggieBaseball

Today's starting lineup against Florida...A&M is the home team for today's game. #12thMan https://t.co/smt844jLNk

Florida ace Logan Shore only tossed one inning, but he allowed a run. The Gators also provided their full starting lineup:

Gators Baseball @GatorsBB

#Gators going with the same lineup for the third day in a row. Shore will start and likely be on a pitch count. https://t.co/SPFohWMS0M

Shore's quick outing was in preparation for regional play, per Florida:

Gators Baseball @GatorsBB

FYI there's nothing wrong with Shore, just limiting him in prep for next weekend. #Gators

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:

SEC Network @SECNetwork

Here comes the BOOM! 💥 Nick. Banks. hwăm′ē. https://t.co/tHezz11mhE https://t.co/lwmZRVR8WC

D1Baseball.com's Kendall Rogers noted that Banks has put on a strong showing during the tournament:

Kendall Rogers @KendallRogers

JB Woodman and Nick Banks probably made themselves some more money with their showings in Hoover this week. #mlbdraft

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:

Nick de la Torre @NickdelaTorreGC

Very impressed with Danny Reyes' aggressiveness at the plate this week. Didn't get many opportunities during season, having a great week.

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:

SEC Network @SECNetwork

Danny Reyes will steal your home run ball! #SCTop10 in the #SECBaseball Championship!!! https://t.co/sMV8InSEQ4 https://t.co/KpD3YXHZmR

He also received some props from NFL Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas:

Thurman Thomas @thurmanthomas

Nice catch by Danny Reyes #Gators

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: 

SEC Network @SECNetwork

2nd HR today. 3rd of the SEC Tournament. That’s @Aggie_Baseball’s Nick Banks for ya: https://t.co/qWYLQbF5cY https://t.co/OBBWJ1XpaB

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:

Texas A&M Baseball @AggieBaseball

.@J_Moss11 ropes one to right center and brings everyone home. Aggies now lead 11-5. #12thMan

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.  


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