CORVALLIS, Ore. – Austin Pettibone lifted UC Santa Barbara on his shoulders, delivering three pitches for strikes and keeping Texas A&M off-balance for 7 2/3 innings in the Corvallis Regional. The Gauchos responded to his efforts, providing enough offense for a 6-4 victory in their postseason appearance since 2001.
For A&M, workhorse ace Daniel Mengden wasn’t his usual efficient self, lasting just one out into the fourth. He gave up six hits, five runs – four earned – and three walks in front of 1,783 baseball fans at Goss Stadium.
Mengden struggled enough that head coach Rob Childress visited the mound twice with the team trainer to check on the sophomore right-hander.
Five different players had an RBI for the Gauchos (35-23), who advanced to play in Saturday’s winner’s bracket game. Joey Epperson, Brandon Trinkwon, Woody Woodward, Luke Swenson and Marc Venning had the RBIs.
Swenson was 2-for-3 with two runs, an RBI and a diving catching in right center that he said “I didn’t get a very good jump on it. It wasn’t up to my usual standards.”
Cole Lankford was the bright spot for the Aggies (32-28), the second seed in the regional. Lankford hit 3-for-4 with an RBI double.
A&M did get a solid relief effort from Matt Kent, who went 4 1/3 while giving up one hit and one run.
The Aggies did make it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but four hits produced two runs and Dylan Hecht got a called third strike on second baseman Blake Allemand to end the contest with Lankford in the on-deck circle.
A&M plays an elimination game on Saturday.