AUSTIN -- Jordan Danks drove in three runs on a pair of triples to lead Texas to a 5-2 win over No. 7 Texas A&M Friday night in the series opener of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown before 6,841 fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Danks was the difference in a great pitcher’s duel between a pair of freshmen, A&M’s Brooks Raley and UT’s Chance Ruffin. His two-run triple in the seventh broke open a 2-1 contest and proved to be the game winner.
The Aggies fell to 42-12 overall and 19-6 in Big 12 play with the loss, while the Longhorns improved to 32-19 and 13-12.
“I’m disappointed that we lost but I’m very encouraged with the way we played,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “I thought we gave great effort and played with great attitude all night long. If you can get two pitches back to a great hitter in Jordan Danks, it’s a different game. We hit a lot of balls hard, right at them, and they made all the plays. We didn’t quit in what was a great Friday night game.”
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the third with an RBI single to center by David Hernandez. One batter later, with runners on the corners and no outs, Travis Tucker hit a sharp grounder to Aggie starter Brooks Raley, who looked Hernandez to third, then turned a double play. Raley then fanned Danks to escape the jam.
The Aggies tied the game in the next half inning. Blake Stouffer doubled off the wall in right with one out, then scored on a two-out double down the left field line by Jose Duran.
Danks’ first triple came with two outs in the fifth, plating Tucker to give Texas a 2-1 lead.
The score remained the same until the last of the seventh, when Raley hit Michael Torres with a one-out pitch. Following a Tucker single to left, Danks drove both home with his second three-bagger of the evening. Preston Clark followed with a sacrifice fly to right to push the UT lead to 5-1.
A&M would record three hits in the ninth, scoring a run on a single to left by Kevin Gonzalez to make the score 5-2. Following a Kyle Colligan single, the Aggies brought the tying run to the plate but reliever Brandon Belt recorded the final out to seal the win.
Raley (6-1) tossed his first complete game of the year, going a season-high eight innings and allowing eight hits, five runs and three walks while striking out five.
“Brooks is such a good athlete, I’m really proud of the way he pitched tonight,” Childress said. “From the start tonight, I felt like he controlled the environment and didn’t let it control him, and that’s good to see. I’ve said it before, but he’s not a freshman anymore. Tonight I thought he was very sharp.”
Ruffin (7-3) lasted seven innings and allowed six hits, one run and two walks while striking out five.
The series shifts to College Station with Saturday’s first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. A&M freshman Barret Loux (4-1, 4.55 ERA) is scheduled to face off against UT junior Austin Wood (3-3, 5.19). There are no seats available for the game, but standing room only tickets will go on sale beginning at 4 p.m. at the Olsen Field ticket windows. The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
Thanks to an 8-1 loss by Nebraska to Missouri Friday night, the Aggies can clinch the Big 12 regular season championship Saturday with either a win over Texas or another Husker loss to MU.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow night,” Childress said. “We’re back. I saw that effort and that attitude out of our guys that we’ve had all year long, and I was proud of that.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to 24 games with a fourth-inning RBI double…Duran’s streak is the second longest in school history (26, Kirk Thompson, 1988).
• Game-time temperature was 76 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing in from center at five miles per hour.