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Texas A&M Baseball: Can't Live With Prosperity

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.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.