OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For two years in a row, Texas A&M didn’t even qualify for the Big 12 Baseball Championship. On Sunday, the Aggies completed their turnaround by capturing the championship for the first time in school history with a 14-6 victory over sixth-seeded Baylor.
The fifth-seeded Aggies (44-16) pounded out a season-high 20 hits Sunday and cruised to the win at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
Shortstop Brandon Hicks went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the A&M attack, and catcher Craig Stinson went 4-for-6 with a pair of RBIs en route to earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
Stinson finished 11-for-19 in the four tournament games with nine RBIs.
“It felt really good, especially after the last couple of years not making it to a regional,” said Stinson, a senior. “It feels really good to come up here and take the title back to College Station and get ready to host a regional.”
The Aggies jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second inning and never trailed in the game.
Baylor closed the gap to 7-5 with three runs in the fifth, but A&M added a run in the sixth, four in the seventh and two more in the eighth to put the game away.
The 20 hits by A&M and the combined 33 hits by both teams were championship game records, breaking the old mark set in the 1998 title game between Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
“Today was our day,” said Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress. “When we got to the ballpark, I looked in our guys’ eyes and they were ready to go and (Baylor) looked like they were on their heels. Everybody sold out to what we needed to do to win a championship.”
Gary Campfield (2-0) pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief of starter Scott Migl, allowing just one run. Wade Mackey (4-2), the first of five Baylor pitchers, took the loss for the Bears.
With the victory, Texas A&M will advance to host an NCAA Regional in College Station starting on Friday.
In addition to Texas A&M, Big 12 schools selected to host are regular season champion Texas and Big 12 tournament second seed Missouri. The regional hosts were announced late Sunday.
Baylor will have to wait for an at-large bid to the regionals when the entire field is announced on Monday, but head coach Steve Smith said he thinks the Big 12 experience has prepared his squad regardless of where the NCAA decides to send his team.
“I think we just played the toughest tournament we will play in the rest of the way down the line,” Smith said. “There isn’t a regional or super regional that will be any harder than what we faced here. We are very ready for it.”