Houston has won four straight

Kyle Tucker's walk-off homer for Astros completes sweep of Mariners

Photo by Rich Schultz / Getty Images

With the series victory already locked up, the Astros were going for the clean sweep on Sunday against the Mariners and looking for their fourth-straight win. A quick rundown of Sunday's series finale:

Final Score: Astros 3, Mariners 2.

Record: 11-10, third in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Ryan Pressly (1-1, 6.35 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Erik Swanson (0-2, 15.19 ERA).

Trading runs early

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, the Astros took advantage of another defensive miscue by Seattle in the bottom of the second to grab an early lead. Abraham Toro, a late addition to the lineup in the DH spot with Yordan Alvarez being a late scratch, was able to reach base on a two-out error. He would come around to score on back-to-back singles by Martin Maldonado and George Springer, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Seattle responded by manufacturing some runs of their own in the next inning, getting a runner on base by a hit-by-pitch to lead it off. They turned that into run with an RBI-single, then took a 2-1 lead with another later in the inning. The Astros would tie the game in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI-single by Martin Maldonado.

McCullers Jr. with another impressive start as game stays tied late

Despite the two-run third inning, Lance McCullers Jr. was still putting together another strong start. That was the only inning he allowed a hit over the first five, then returned to start the sixth. He allowed a leadoff double to start the top of the sixth, but with his pitch count rising and after allowing a two-out walk, would have Dusty Baker come to make a move to the bullpen. Andre Scrubb would get the final out of the inning, closing out McCullers Jr.'s line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7K, 0 HR.

Scrubb returned for the top of the seventh, but after two outs would be removed in favor of Houston's next reliever, Enoli Paredes. He would get the final out of the sixth, and continued on in the seventh, getting one out and allowing a single before Houston would move to Blake Taylor, who finished the inning despite allowing a walk.

Astros walk it off

Houston would fail to go-ahead in the bottom of the eighth, keeping it a 2-2 stalemate heading to the ninth. With Ryan Pressly already warmed up, he would take the top of the inning and be able to keep Seattle off the board with a 1-2-3 inning. That set the Astros up for a walk-off, and Kyle Tucker would oblige with a solo home run to complete the sweep and extend Houston's winning streak to four games.

Up Next: The Astros will close out this homestand with two games against the Rockies, the first being Monday at 8:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.45 ERA) on the mound for Colorado going against Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.76 ERA) for Houston.

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Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies have plenty of work to do this offseason. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

After an underwhelming win against one of the worst teams in the nation last Saturday against UMASS, the Aggies looked like they were poised to head into the final game of the year against LSU unmotivated and shorthanded. With rumors of star recruits rushing to the transfer portal, Jimbo Fisher was fighting an uphill battle to topple the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers. In his first year with the Tigers, head coach Brian Kelly has already gotten his squad to the SEC Championship game. That certainly has got to rub Coach Fisher the wrong way as his best finish in the SEC to this point has been second in 2020. But instead of laying down and dying, the Aggies capped off arguably the most disappointing season in program history on Saturday with a signature win for Jimbo Fisher and his program.

The win over LSU wasn't just some fluke win, that was caused by LSU shooting itself in the foot over and over again. The Aggies were just flat-out the better team on Saturday. They won the turnover battle, time of possession, had more passing and rushing yards and were more effective on third downs. The Ags took playing for the seniors like Demani Richardson, Connor Choate and Max Wright to heart and pulled out an impressive and gutsy win. Unfortunately, that performance left a question on the table, where was this all year? To answer that, I want to go back to the first article I wrote this year and dive into how the Maroon and White faired in what I thought would be the key areas.

The three main areas I was watching closely on this team were quarterback play, how many freshmen contributed and how DJ Durkin, the new defensive coordinator performed with his new schemes. First up, quarterback play. The Aggies saw three different starting quarterbacks in the 2022 season. First, Haynes King, who was benched due to performance and injuries. Then Max Johnson, who was knocked out for the season due to injury and finally, Connor Weigman. Weigman only missed one game due to illness but showed in every start that he is worth those five stars he got as a recruit. The position was overall a disappointment but the future is bright going forward with #15 taking the snaps.

Next up, freshman impact. Of the 30 total true freshman on A&M’s roster 16 of them saw significant playing time in 2022 and 23 of them got on the field at some point during the year. With a team so decimated with injuries, many of them got on the field maybe a little sooner than expected. However, they did not disappoint. Many of them had an instant impact, such as Connor Weigman, Donovan Green, Evan Stewart or Bryce Anderson. Not to mention that defensive line… if Jimbo can keep these guys on campus and keep them out of the transfer portal, this team will be dangerous in 2023.

Finally, the new defensive coordinator DJ Durkin had some big shoes to fill in 2022 with Mike Elko’s departure. His unit struggled at times during the year, mostly against the run. As of this writing, the Aggies rank 124th in the nation in run defense. That's not good. But against the pass, they are up in 1st. So for Durkin in his first year, it was the middle of the road. He was far from the biggest problem with the dismal 5-7 season.

With all that being said the 2022 season is in the books. A&M will not go bowling for the first time since 2008 and Jimbo Fisher will have a lot to work on this offseason to get the ship righted. He has already relieved offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey of his duties in what is expected to be the first of many staff changes. Recruiting will be interesting to follow as well, the Ags are not projected to have a recruiting class anywhere near as impressive as last year. All these factors aside, the Aggies will most likely be a preseason top-10 team in 2023 and believe me, I have already started counting down the days until the Aggies take to Kyle Field to face New Mexico on September 2nd.

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