COLLEGE STATION -- In an always heated rivalry match, the No. 20 Texas A&M men’s tennis team could not hold off an aggressive attack by No. 15 Baylor which resulted in a 6-1 loss to the Bears Wednesday night before a season-high crowd of 789 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center.
For the first time since sweeping the doubles point at No. 10 Duke on Feb. 29, A&M used a different doubles lineup and found success against the Bears in the early portion of the match. Junior Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and freshman Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.), ranked No. 48 nationally in doubles, combined at the top spot for the Aggies (10-8, 1-3). The duo won a love game to clinch the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over No. 44-ranked David Galic and Denes Lukacs.
Senior Mike Beatty (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) set up the A&M momentum in doubles with an 8-4 result over Baylor’s Lars Poerschke and Attila Bucko at the No. 2 line. Senior Matt Bain (Georgetown, Texas) and sophomore Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished off the sweep by winning a 7-5 tiebreaker over BU’s Dominik Mueller and Jordan Rux at No. 3 in the team’s final regular-season home match.
“I thought we played well and had a lot of energy in the doubles,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “We made some changes in our lineup and tried some different combinations that we had not tried all year. The teams that we put out there really clicked and hopefully, we have found something there that we can build on.”
Baylor (15-7, 1-0) quickly gained a 2-1 lead in singles on the heels of straight-set victories by the No. 101-ranked Mueller over Texas A&M’s Chirico (6-0, 6-1) at No. 4 and Rux over Texas A&M’s Kayvon Karimi (6-2, 6-1) at No. 6.
But, the Aggies still weren’t going down without a fight. Two of the four remaining matches went into three sets including a battle between two top 20 players in No. 15-ranked Pollock and No. 20-ranked Poerschke at the No. 1 line. After winning the first set 6-4, Pollock dropped the next two, 1-6, 2-6, which sealed the win for the Bears. He still remains the only Big 12 Conference player to knock off Poerschke in league play after beating the Buseck, Germany native in three sets in Waco in 2007.
“It (the momentum from doubles) just didn’t carry over in the singles,” Denton said. “We won only two of the six first sets in singles and they (Baylor) seized the momentum. We just couldn’t quite turn the momentum around. They served well and they attacked us more than we attacked them. I think that was really the difference in the match. They played more aggressive than we did tonight after the doubles.”
With the match already decided, Krajicek was the last Aggie standing in a tight three-setter at the No. 3 line. He won the first set 6-2, but eventually lost 9-7 in the third-set tiebreaker to No. 104-ranked Galic. Krajicek dropped to 3-1 against Big 12 opponents this season, which currently leads the team.
“I was really disappointed with the way we played in doubles,” Baylor head coach Matt Knoll said. “I give A&M a lot of credit. I thought they came out with great energy and I felt like they were a little more ready to play than we were. They hammered us in the doubles. Today, we just found a way to rise up from adversity and played well.”
A&M is now 3-2 when winning the doubles point this season. Up next, the Aggies will play a non-conference match at No. 19 Rice (12-6) on Wednesday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Houston, prior to returning to Big 12 competition on Friday, April 11 at Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb.
(15) BAYLOR 6, (20) TEXAS A&M 1
April 2, 2008
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
at College Station, Texas
No. 1 (20) Lars Poerschke (Baylor) def. (15) Conor Pollock Texas A&M), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
No. 2 (10) Denes Lukacs (Baylor) def. (T90) Wil Spencer (Texas A&M), 6-4, 6-3.
No. 3 (104) David Galic (Baylor) def. Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7).
No. 4 (101) Dominik Mueller (Baylor) def. Chris Chirico (Texas A&M), 6-0, 6-1.
No. 5 Attila Bucko (Baylor) def. Matt Bain (Texas A&M), 6-4, 7-6 (4).
No. 6 Jordan Rux (Baylor) def. Kayvon Karimi (Texas A&M), 6-2, 6-1.
No. 1 (48) Pollock-Krajicek (Texas A&M) def. (44) Galic-Lukacs (Baylor), 8-6.
No. 2 Mike Beatty-Wil Spencer (Texas A&M) def. Poerschke-Bucko (Baylor), 8-4.
No. 3 Bain-Chirico (Texas A&M) def. Mueller-Rux (Baylor), 8-7 (5).
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 2, 1, 3
Singles: 4, 6, 2, 1*, 5, 3