COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M erased a 7-1 deficit with 12 runs in its final three at-bats as the 16th-ranked Aggies rallied for a 13-8 win over Kansas State Saturday night before 4,332 fans at Olsen Field.
After chipping two runs off the Wildcat lead in the bottom of the sixth, A&M exploded for seven runs in the seventh to take the lead and added three more in the eighth to seal its eighth-straight victory.
With the win, the Aggies improved to 25-6 overall and remained in second place in the Big 12 at 8-3. K-State fell to 15-14 and 2-6.
“Down 7-1 in the sixth, it would have been easy for us to roll over and lay down,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “I’m very proud of our team. There’s nothing they can’t do, and they’re proving it to themselves every day. This was a big win for us.”
KSU used clutch, mostly two-out hitting to build a 7-1 lead heading into the last of the sixth. A&M began the frame with back-to-back doubles by Blake Stouffer and Dane Carter to cut the lead to five. Two outs later, Carter scored the Aggies’ third run on a wild pitch.
Relief pitcher Hank Robertson worked an efficient three-up, three-down seventh, setting the stage for his team’s big inning.
Brian Ruggiano led off the frame with a walk. One out later, pinch hitter Brooks Raley quickly fell down in the count 0-2 before working it even. The true freshman then blooped a single into shallow left center that chased Wildcat starter Justin Murray and opened the floodgates for the Aggies.
“It was an incredible at bat,” Childress said. “He’s a competitor, and that’s why he does what he does on the mound. He competes just as hard at the plate.”
Kyle Colligan singled to load the bases and, after another pitching change, Stouffer drew a four-pitch walk to put the tying run at first base. Carter followed suit, lining a 1-1 pitch deep into the left center field gap to clear the bases and even the score at seven.
After K-State again went to the bullpen, Jose Duran tripled down the right field line to give A&M the lead and scored the Aggies’ ninth run on a Darby Brown sacrifice fly. Texas A&M once again loaded the bases before Ben Feltner singled home Luke Anders to make the score 10-7.
Closer Travis Starling pitched a scoreless top of the eighth, and got some insurance from his teammates in the last half of the frame. Stouffer hit his third home run of the year, a two-run shot to right, and Ruggiano followed later with an RBI single up the middle to give the Aggies a 13-7 lead.
K-State would scratch a run on the final play of the game off Starling when, after an infield single by Byron Wiley, Justin Bloxom got in a rundown between second and third and Nate Tenbrink touched home before the game’s final out was recorded.
The Aggies, who pounded out a season-high 18 hits on the night, saw every starter record at least a hit and six tally two or more. Carter highlighted the offensive attack, going 3-for-5 and tying career highs with three runs scored and four RBI. Ruggiano matched a career best with a three-hit night, while Stouffer (2-for-4) tied a season high with three RBI. Colligan, Duran and Brown each posted two hits as well.
K-State was led by Bloxom’s 3-for-4 night, as the first baseman also drove in a team-high four runs in the game. Center fielder Jordan Cruz added three hits.
Robertson (1-0) picked up his first career victory, allowing two hits and one earned run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Starling locked down his seventh save of the season.
A&M starter Barret Loux, who did not factor in the decision, allowed eight hits and six earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. The freshman walked three while striking out six.
Rooke (3-1) suffered the loss in relief for K-State, allowing a hit and two runs. He did not retire either of the two batters he faced in the game.
The series concludes on Sunday at Olsen Field, with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m. The Aggies will send sophomore Clayton Ehlert (3-2, 2.81 ERA) to the mound while the Wildcats will counter with junior lefty Lance Hoge (1-1, 2.19). The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
“Tomorrow’s a big game,” Childress said. “Every game is huge. This team will do whatever it is they want to do. That’s how much toughness they have about them.”
Kids 12 and under can receive free admission with a paid adult through the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” promotion. There is a limit of four kids per adult and all seats are general admission. In addition, all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases following the game.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• The Aggies posted their 25th win of the season, most among Big 12 teams.
• Texas A&M’s 18 hits was a season high…the previous high was 17 in a March 28 win at Kansas.
• A&M recorded its 12th come-from-behind win of the year, including five in Big 12 play.
• The Aggies sent 12 men to the plate in their seven-run seventh, matching a season high (1st inning at Kansas, March 28).
• Darby Brown extended his career-best hit streak to 15 games, one shy of A&M’s season-high (16, Dane Carter).
• Dane Carter has now hit safely in 12 straight games and 29 of the Aggies’ 31 overall…Carter has reached base safely (hit or walk) in all 31 contests.
• Kyle Colligan (eight games), Blake Stouffer (seven games) and Luke Anders (four games) all extended hit streaks in Saturday’s win…Colligan saw a string of reaching base safely leading off the game end at six.
• Texas A&M leads the all-time series with K-State, 32-8-1, and 28-7-1 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1997.
• Game-time temperature was 73 degrees with clear skies and calm winds.