The Brazos Valley Bombers trimmed their magic number to clinch the Texas Collegiate League South Division title to one with a 4-3 win over the Victoria Generals on Saturday at Travis Field.
The Bombers can move ahead of the first-place Round Rock Hairy Men after the club ended their season two games early due to positive tests of COVID-19, according to a statement released by the organization.
“With just two games remaining in the season, out of an abundance of caution, we felt it was in the best interest of our players and staff to end the season now,” general manager Tim Jackson said in the statement.
Saturday’s win puts the Bombers (17-12) a half-game ahead of the San Antonio Chanclas, who will receive both forfeit wins vacated by Round Rock. The Hairy Men were slated to host the Chanclas for the final series of the season this weekend.
The Bombers can win the title outright by beating the Generals in the season finale set for 7:05 p.m. Sunday. A loss would even the Bombers and Chanclas (16-12) in the standings, but San Antonio would earn the title via the first tiebreaker of win percentage.
In the North Division, the Tulsa Drillers and the Amarillo Sod Squad locked up both playoff berths. Should Tulsa take the third game of that series Sunday, the Bombers would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bombers took an early 1-0 lead Saturday when incoming Aggie transfer Taylor Smith lined a seeing-eye single through the middle of the infield, scoring Aggie teammate Bryce Blaum from third.
With a loud contingent of A&M fans on hand for Aggie Night at Travis Field, A&M’s players kept the Bomber offense moving two innings later. A&M infielder Austin Bost dribbled a swinging bunt down the third-base line, which came to rest on the chalk line. The stroke of good luck drove in Bomber center fielder Grayson Tatrow from third.
The Bombers extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Caden Homniok scored on a passed ball.
Victoria’s Josh Elvir cut Brazos Valley’s lead to one with a two-run single in the top of the fifth.
Bost scored in the bottom half of the inning on a single by Homniok.
Victoria (9-20) kept within striking distance thanks to an RBI triple by Elvir that scored Hobbs Price, but Marshall closer John Cheatwood (2-1) shut the door for Brazos Valley, picking up his second save of the season.
Texas State pitcher Tristan Stivors earned the win, allowing two hits and no runs with six strikeouts over the first four innings.