The now #9 ranked Aggies squandered a golden opportunity in Columbia, MO.
Things were going great for the Aggies after a weekend sweep of then #15 ranked Oklahoma State, which put them in first place in the big 12 outright, one game ahead of the Texas Longhorns. The schedule looked to be playing out perfectly for A&M, as they faced a mid-week matchup with a good but beatable Sam Houston State team at home, and then traveled to Missouri for a weekend series with the last place Tigers. Meanwhile, the second place Longhorns would have to do battle with a very tough Oklahome Sooners team at home. It seemed to be a perfect opportunity for the Aggies to lengthen their lead one game lead over Texas. But, as they often do in sports, the best laid plans fell apart.
A&M stumbled out of the gate for the week with an 8-5 extra innings loss to the visiting Bearcats, which featured the emotional return of retiring Sam Houston State, and former Texas A&M manager Mark Johnson. Even with this blemish, a sweep of Missouri over the weekend would still put the A&M in command of the conference lead. Things are never as easy as they seem however, as the Aggies dropped a wild one in the opener of the series. The Tigers scored seven runs in the seventh inning to overcome a 6-1 deficit. A&M stormed back in the top of the eighth with three runs and retook a two run lead, only to see reliable closer Joaquin Hinojosa hit three batters to load the bases and walk in two runs to give the Tigers the 10-9 victory.
Things only got worse for A&M in game two. The Aggie pitching staff, so brilliant in shutting down Oklahoma State the week before, got rocked in a humiliating 9-1 loss. In Austin, Texas had managed to take the first two games of their series against Oklahoma, so A&M found themselves one game back of the Longhorns, and badly needing to salvage a win in the series.
Thankfully, Sunday brought a change in fortunes. The Aggies overcame a 2-0 deficit and won the series finale 3-2 in a rain-shortened seven inning game, while Texas dropped game three to Oklahoma by a score of 5-2. After all of the week's action, A&M found themselves in a first place tie with Texas, with a 15-6 conference record.
Being in a first place tie is still a good position to be in, but the bottom line is that A&M did not take care of business against the bottom of the conference, in a series that they needed to win. The coming weekend will bring non-conference opponent Dallas Baptist to College Station for a three game series, which will give the Aggies an opportunity to right the ship against a quality team before they finish the conference schedule with Nebraska and Texas. For Aggie fans, hope springs eternal. Let's hope that what happened in Missouri, stays in Missouri.