Texas A&M put its stamp on the Domino's Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic with a 5-3 victory over UNC Greensboro.
The Aggies finished the four-day tourney with a 3-1 mark, best of the four teams, which also included Utah and Missouri State. The Utes defeated the Bears 6-3 in the first game on Monday at Olsen Field.
Aggie coach Rob Childress went deep into his bullpen in the finale, using six relievers, three in the seventh inning to keep the Spartans at bay.
Leading 4-3 in the seventh, the Aggies, who were the visitors, started the inning with Evan Gerald pitching. He got an out before David Adams singled and Greg Feltes walked. Left-hander Anthony Vasquez came in to induce a popup by lefty Jermaine Mitchell. Then right-hander Hart Hering came in and loaded the bases before getting designated hitter Greg Matson to ground out up the middle to second baseman Jose Salazar.
"I enjoy doing that [working matchups] -Êit's like playing cards or chess," Childress said. "Making the right moves when they work it makes you feel good, when it doesn't it disappoints you a bit. We came out of this weekend knowing we got another pitcher in the bullpen that we can count in Anthony Vasquez."
Hering came one out from closing the door on the Aggies' 11th win in 12 games. He gave up a single to Feltes and was replaced by Jordan Chambless, who struck out No. 2 hitter Jermaine Mitchell to end the game.
The Aggies got a single run in the first and second innings. Spencer Jackson knocked in the run with the Aggies' third straight single. Blake Stouffer scored after being advanced to third by Salazar.
Shortstop Parker Dalton made it around the bases on his own in the second, tripling to right field and then stealing home.
"The guy was over 3 seconds in the windup to home plate and we got a guy that can run a little bit, that's something we're going to take some chances and do," Childress said. "I was proud of the way we came out and scored early and scored in the ninth to make that one-run lead a two-run lead."
The Spartans (2-6) used a walk and two singles to start their big inning. Mitchell scored on Greg Matson's hit and Guy Welsh, who singled, made it home on Clinton McKinney's grounder to second. Matson scored on a wild pitch.
With two outs and the bases empty, Logan Smith walked and Brandon Harvey singled to chase Aggie starter Chance Corgan. Matt Ueckert came in to face David Adams, who sent Brandon Glover deep to the left-center field, where he hauled in the fly ball as he hit the wall.
Ueckert was selected MVP of the tournament with two wins and no runs allowed in five innings.
"I was proud of the way our bullpen responded, 5.1 shutout innings," Childress said. "That's what we got to have, guys that know their roles."
Trailing 3-2, John Infante singled and Stouffer walked to lead off the fifth. A double steal and two sacrifice flies later, one by Salazar and the second by Jake Vasquez, put the Aggies up 4-3, where it stayed until the top of the ninth.
Infante forced Dalton at second and then went to second on a ground ball and scored on Salazar's single to right.
"I challenged our guys to treat it like a regional, to have the feeling of a four-team tournament and after getting beat last night we had the if necessary game today," Childress said. "We got the opportunity to win a true championship and those guys to get the trophy, and hopefully at the end of May that's what we're doing again."