HOUSTON–Texas A&M showed admirable resilience tonight in the final game of the Houston College Classic. The Aggies trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth but battled back for a 5-3 win. The big blow was a tie-breaking two-run homer by senior center fielder Kyle Colligan in the sixth inning. Houston bullpen ace Chase Dempsay entered the game to face Colligan with a runner aboard, and Colligan turned on Dempsay’s first pitch–an 86 mph fastball over the inside corner–and launched a towering shot to left field.
Houston made things interesting in the ninth, loading the bases against A&M closer Travis Starling. But Starling escaped, getting Blake Kelso to line to shortstop to end the game.
I’ll have a few more thoughts on the Houston College Classic in Three Strikes tomorrow, but here’s a quick look at how some of the pitchers in today’s finale looked:
• Freshman lefthander Ross Hales is the real deal for Texas A&M. Hales showed a lively 87-91 mph fastball, a sharp 73-74 curve and an excellent 79 mph changeup with good arm speed in his 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
• Starling’s fastball sat in the 85-87 range, but his 81-84 mph spike curveball was characteristically devastating.
• Dempsay worked in the 86-89 range with a lively fastball from a deceptive three-quarters slot. He also mixed in a 73-75 mph breaking ball and a 77-78 changeup.
• Houston is young but features plenty of quality arms. Starter Frank Corolla ran his fastball up to 91 today and complemented it with a good 79-80 slider. And the Cougars’ final reliever of the day, lefthander Donnie Joseph, sat at 93 mph and flashed an excellent 82-83 mph changeup. He struck out two in his perfect inning of relief, one using a fastball and one with a change.
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