May 24, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Kyle Colligan, Jose Duran and Luke Anders each hit home runs and Barret Loux tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings to lead No. 9 Texas A&M to a 6-2 win over ninth-ranked Missouri in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Saturday afternoon before 7,418 fans at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.

The victory pushed A&M's record to 43-16 on the year, while Mizzou fell to 38-19.

"I told the team before the game that we just needed to pitch and play good defense and the rest will take care of itself, and we definitely did that today," A&M coach Rob Childress said. "It was a clean, well-played, well-defended game by us, probably as good as you could ask for."

Colligan opened the scoring in the third. With one out, the junior drove a 2-1 pitch deep into left center field and off the railing atop the Aggie bullpen. The solo shot, his 10th home run of the year, gave A&M the early 1-0 lead.

The Tigers truly threatened only once off Loux, in the top of the fourth. A one-out walk to catcher Trevor Coleman, followed by a single through the right side by first baseman Steve Gray and an infield groundout pushed the go-head run into scoring position. Loux was able to get MU designated hitter Kurt Calvert to ground out to short, however, to end the threat and keep A&M's lead at 1-0.

A four-run A&M fifth proved the difference in the game.

After Brooks Raley drew a one-out walk, he moved all the way to third when MU starter Ian Berger's pickoff attempt sailed past first baseman Steve Gray and down the right field line. With the infield drawn in, Colligan placed an 0-2 pitch into shallow right to make the score 2-0.

Dane Carter followed with a sacrifice attempt, and Berger's throw to get him at first sailed high to put runners on the corners. Duran then drove the first pitch he saw into the bleachers in left, his sixth home run of the year, to build A&M's lead to five.

Mizzou second baseman Greg Folgia got the Tigers on the board in the eighth with a leadoff solo home run into the right field bullpen, his fifth of the year.

The Aggies got the run back in the bottom half of the inning on a one-out, opposite-field home run into the left field bleachers by Anders, his 14th long ball of the year.

Gray added a solo shot of his own with one out in the ninth--also into the right-field pen--to close out the scoring.

Duran and Colligan each had two hits on the night, driving in three and two runs, respectively. Gray (2-for-4) was the only Tiger with multiple hits on the afternoon.

Loux went 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five. The Tigers managed to get only three runners in scoring position off the freshman, who improved to 5-2 on the year with the victory.

Thebeau and Starling combined for 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing only one hit each--the solo home runs by Folgia and Gray.

Berger (4-5) took the loss, giving up four hits and five runs (four earned) over six innings of work. He walked two and fanned four.

"Offensively, Kyle, Luke and Jose got the big hits when we needed them," Childress said. "More than anything, I think the story today was our pitching. Barret was incredible. He just attacked the strike zone from start to finish and had a great day. Kyle Thebeau and Travis Starling came in and just did what they do."

Texas A&M now awaits the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship announcements. The committee will reveal the 16 regional host sites on Sunday at approximately 6 p.m. (CDT) on ESPN2. The field of 64 will be announced on Monday at 11:30 a.m. (CDT) on ESPN. Fans should stay tuned to aggieathletics.com for the latest information.

"I think the one thing our players will take from this weekend is that we are now moving on to the postseason for real," Childress said. "We're moving on to a regional, and hopefully that will be at Olsen Field. I know the bus ride will feel a lot shorter tonight."