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Baylor slams shut College Classic at MMP

Big 12 wins 7 of 9 matchups with SEC; attendance record set
Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park had its highest attended event since its inception in 2001. The six-team invitational also had its share of dramatics over three days, concluding with a bang in Sunday's final game.

Tucker Cascadden's ninth-inning grand slam that lifted Baylor to a wild 6-3 win over Texas A&M was the second walk-off hit among Sunday's three games and the third walk-off in the final four games of the tournament, which ended with Cascadden being mobbed by his teammates after his blast off Corbin Martin (0-2) was a no-doubter to left-center.

HOUSTON -- The Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park had its highest attended event since its inception in 2001. The six-team invitational also had its share of dramatics over three days, concluding with a bang in Sunday's final game.

Tucker Cascadden's ninth-inning grand slam that lifted Baylor to a wild 6-3 win over Texas A&M was the second walk-off hit among Sunday's three games and the third walk-off in the final four games of the tournament, which ended with Cascadden being mobbed by his teammates after his blast off Corbin Martin (0-2) was a no-doubter to left-center.

"I didn't try to do that," said Cascadden, who attended nearby Lamar High School and made the all-tournament team at shortstop. "I just reacted. I built it up and then it flew. We battled that whole game, and we had no doubt in that dugout."

Tweet from @BaylorBaseball: BEARS WIN! Walk-off grand slam by Tucker Cascadden! Baylor (11-1) takes down #11 Texas A&M.#SicEm ������ pic.twitter.com/O2Jfy42j2P

Before the five-run ninth inning, Baylor trailed the Aggies, 3-1, on the strength of Mitchell Kilkenny's seven innings, two doubles by Braden Shewmake, and a triple and double by Logan Foster.

Cascadden's homer scored Hunter Seay, Kameron Esthay and Cole Weaver, and made a winner out of Troy Montemayor (1-0). Cascadden, Shea Langeliers and Matt Menard had two hits each for the Bears (11-1).

"The competitive nature of these guys all season has been impressive," Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said. "That Texas A&M team is really good."

It was Texas A&M's second consecutive heartbreaking loss in the tournament. The Aggies (9-3) lost, 11-10, in 15 innings to TCU late Saturday night. Baylor went 2-1 over the weekend as the Big 12 held a 7-2 advantage over the SEC in a new format that pitted the two conferences against each other.

"We had an opportunity to show the country what we're about," Cascadden said. "We know there's something special with this team. We never stop fighting, and we pride ourselves on our chemistry. "

The three-day attendance of 53,495, including Sunday's 14,507, is the most since the classic started in 2001 at Minute Maid Park, surpassing the previous high of 48,839 in 2006.

TCU first baseman Luken Baker was named the classic's Most Outstanding Player. TCU was the only team to win all three of its games.

The 2018 classic, to be played March 2-4, will have a field of Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Houston, Louisiana-Lafayette and Sam Houston State.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com.