COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the second time in the young season, Logan Nottebrok provided “Olsen Magic” with a walk-off home run as the Texas A&M Aggies posted a 7-5 win over the Sacramento State Hornets on Saturday evening at Blue Bell Park.
With the score tied 5-5 in the home half of the ninth inning, Blake Allemand drew a four-pitch walk and Nottebrok followed by launching a 2-1 offering from Dallas Chadwick over the leftfield fence for his second dinger of the game and third of the season. The walk-off win came less than a week after Notterbrok delivered the ninth-inning heroics in A&M’s 1-0 win over Northeastern last Sunday.
Texas A&M drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. JB Moss revved up the Aggies’ engine with a four-pitch walk and a steal of second base to start the frame. Allemand followed with a seven-pitch walk and after Nottebrok struck out swinging, Hunter Melton was issued a walk on seven pitches to load the bases. Cole Lankford drove a 0-1 pitch over the centerfielder for a double as A&M staked claim to a 2-0 lead. The Aggies may have cultivated more runs in the inning, but Melton was thrown out at home on the Lankford double. Troy Stein followed with a four-pitch walk and stole second base, but G.R. Hinsley was retired on a sharp line drive that Hornets’ shortstop Scotty Burcham snared for the final out.
The Aggies appeared to be cruising to the shutout victory before the bullpen stumbled in the top of the seventh. David Del Grande hit a one-out single and Burcham reached on a two-out single to drive A&M starter Parker Ray from the contest. Reliever AJ Minter issued a six-pitch walk to Nathan Lukes to load the bases and Brandon Hunley followed with a two-run single through the left side of the infield to tie the score at 2-2.
A&M reclaimed the advantage with a three-run home half of the seventh. With reliever Alex Palsha in the game, Statum drew a five-pitch walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Moss and scored on a single to leftfield by Allemand for the 3-2 lead. Nottebrok inflated the cushion to 5-2, blasting a 1-0 offering over the fence in left centerfield for the two-run tater.
Sacramento State temporarily staved off defeat with a three-run rally against Aggie closer Jason Jester in the top of the ninth inning. On the first pitch of Jester’s appearance, Del Grande drove a double down the leftfield line and he moved to third on a wild pitch. Jester struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Moses, who got caught looking, for the first out of the frame. Burcham knocked Del Grande in with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, cutting the margin to 5-3. Lukes and Hunley both drew two-out walks to breathe new life into the inning. Will Soto provided the equalizer, hitting a 1-0 pitch to the gap in right centerfield for the two-run double to knot the game at 5-5.
Jester (2-0) was credited with the win, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one over 1.0 inning. Andrew Vinson retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning. Ray allowed two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two over 6.2 innings in the start.
Chadwick was saddled with the loss, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one over 1.0 inning. Sacramento State starter Brennan Leitao worked 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out on.
Nottebrok went 2-for-5 with two runs, two home runs and four RBI. He became the first Aggie to hit multiple home runs in a game since Jacob House hit two against Texas Tech on May 5, 2012.
In addition to their eight hits, the Aggies drew 10 walks. Allemand went 2-for-3 with two walks, three runs and one RBI. Jace Statum was 1-for-1 with three walks and one run.
Seven different Hornets logged a hit in the game. Del Grande was the only Sacramento State player to log multiple hits, going 3-for-4 with one double and two runs. Hunley and Soto each drove in two runs.
Texas A&M and Sacramento State face off in the rubber match of the series on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park at 1:05 pm on Sunday.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On Sacramento State starter Brennan Leitao...
“Their guy had trouble locating the strike zone early. He throws a heavy sinker. We did a good job of making him elevate the ball, and when he did we got a big hit there in the first inning. But, he got them through five. You didn’t think he was going to do that early in the game, but he got it back together. For us, I’m more proud of our team.”
On the bullpen...
“Those are two of the best relievers in the country. The last out is the hardest one to get, and they didn’t go away. You have to have a short-term memory if you are going to be in the backend of the bullpen. Hopefully, we are in the same spot tomorrow and we can go back to those two guys.”
On Logan Taylor and Krey Bratsen seeing their first action of the season...
“Bratsen made a great throw to get the guy in the ninth, and he also made a great play in left center. Taylor hit into a double play, but I thought he had some great swings tonight. I’m glad to have him back.”
Junior second baseman Blake Allemand
On Logan Nottebrok’s game...
“That’s pretty impressive. Two walk-off bombs in the span of six games, obviously he has a pretty clutch gene. Right now, with the game on the line I wouldn’t have any guy at the plate other than him. We have had great at-bats all weekend as a team, and finally there at the end we had a couple of them fall.”
On his night...
“It’s been a back and forth series. These guys are playing hard, and are making plays to keep themselves in the game. I was trying to do everything I could, whether it be walks or have a good at-bat and put a good swing on the ball—whatever I had to do to get us back in the dugout with the lead.”
Senior pitcher Parker Ray
On the game...
“Nottebrok had a shot at the end. We just tried to stay the course the whole game. It was a typical Saturday, just trying to grind it out. The bullpen kind of hiccupped, but they will be back tomorrow and ready to go.”
On Logan Nottebrok...
“He’s unbelievable. It’s awesome to watch him perform and hit the shots that he does. Even when they are outs, they are loud outs. He’s a great piece to our team, something that we were missing last year—that power guy that can hit for doubles. It’s fun to watch him.”
Junior third baseman Logan Nottebrok
On his walk-off home run...
“I take that (the one tonight) one every day of the week. That one caught me by surprise. The first one, I just tried to put a nice easy swing on it and ended up hitting it out. That one, I thought to myself ‘Be slow and steady. See the ball big.’ I ended up crushing it again. I’ll take it all day long.”
On late game heroics...
“I’m just lucky. I came up at the right time. I give all the credit to Jace (Statum) and Blake (Allemand). They got us going on a roll and back hot again.”