Ninth-inning rally comes up short for No. 20 Baseball
The No. 20 Texas Longhorns scored five runs in the top of the ninth, but left the tying and go-ahead runs at third and second, respectively, in a 6-5 loss to the No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies at Blue Bell Park on Friday evening.
The loss snapped a nine-game win streak for the Longhorns at Blue Bell Park dating back to the 2005 campaign.
Trailing 6-0 in the ninth, Texas (24-15, 11-5 Big 12) took advantage of the departure of Aggies' starter Michael Wacha. Reliever Jason Freeman retired Jonathan Walsh to start the inning, but Brooks Marlow, Alex Silver and Jacob Felts singled to load the bases. A passed ball scored Marlow to break up the shutout. Tim Maitland drew a four-pitch walk to reload the bases. After Kevin Lusson popped up to the catcher for the second out, Mark Payton singled to rightfield to drive in a pair and cut the lead to 6-3. Collin Shaw reloaded the bases with a pinch-hit walk bring Erich Weiss to the plate as the go-ahead run. Weiss doubled into the gap in right centerfield, plating Payton and Maitland and trimming the margin to 6-5.
With runners at second and third, Walsh came to bat for the second time in the inning. He ended the game with a ground out to second base.
The Aggies jumped on the board early with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Mikey Reynolds reached base to start the inning when Longhorns' shortstop Jordan Etier was unable to handle a grounder. Following the error, Reynolds moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Arthur, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Tyler Naquin delivered a double to rightfield. Naquin moved to third on a wild pitch and touched home on a sacrifice fly to rightfield by Jacob House to stake Texas A&M to a 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M (30-12, 10-6 Big 12) padded its lead with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Reynolds was issued a leadoff walk, moved to second on another sacrifice bunt by Arthur and was pushed to third on a deep fly ball by Naquin. House plated Reynolds with a bloop single into shallow left centerfield. Matt Juengel reached on a fielding error by Brooks Marlow to put a pair on. Chance Bolcerek drew Nathan Thornhill's second walk of the inning to load the bases and Troy Stein singled through the left side of the infield to drive in a pair, giving Texas A&M a 5-0 advantage.
The Aggies scored what would be an important insurance run in the fifth. With two outs, Bolcerek singled to the gap in left centerfield. Brandon Wood pinch-ran for Bolcerek and came around to score when Stein hit a wall-banger to left centerfield for an RBI double, inflating the Texas A&M cushion to 6-0.
Thornhill (4-4) was saddled with the loss for Texas. He allowed six runs, two earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out two over 6.0 innings. Austin Dicharry pitched the last 2.0 innings for Texas, holding the Aggies scoreless with one hit and one walk while striking out two.
Wacha (6-0) earned the win for Texas A&M, pitching 8.0 shutout innings. He scattered four hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Payton led Texas at the plate going 3-for-4 with one run, one double, one walk and two RBI. Silver and Felts each added a pair of hits.
Stein was the top hitter for the Aggies, going 3-for-4 with one double and three RBI. Reynolds went 2-for-4 with one walk and two runs.
The Lone Star State Farm Showdown returns to action on Saturday from UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin. First pitch on Fox Sports Newtork is slated for 2:36 p.m.