COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Home runs by Kyle Russell and Preston Clark in the sixth and seventh innings broke a two-all tie and lifted Texas to a 5-2 win over No. 7 Texas A&M Saturday evening before a season-high 7,430 fans at Olsen Field.
Russell’s home run, his 14th of the season, came with one out in the sixth and drove home Travis Tucker, who had walked leading off the frame. Clark’s was his eighth of the year and came leading off the seventh.
Despite the loss, the Aggies (42-13, 19-7) clinched at least a share of their first Big 12 regular-season championship since 1999 and can win the title outright with a victory on Sunday. The Longhorns (33-19, 14-12) have now won four in a row and seven of their last eight.
“It was definitely a frustrating night offensively for us, and Austin Wood was the man that caused that,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “I thought he did a great job, and kept growing, and we didn’t do a very good job adjusting. He came in here to Olsen Field and threw a complete game and got a win—if you do that, you’re doing something right.”
UT scored an unearned run in the first off Aggie starter Barret Loux on an RBI groundout by center fielder Jordan Danks.
The lead would be short lived, however. After Dane Carter and Jose Duran drew two-out walks off UT lefty Austin Wood, Luke Anders smashed a 1-1 pitch down the right field line and into the corner. The triple cleared the bases, scoring both runners to give A&M a 2-1 advantage.
For the second straight night, the Texas defense was able to turn a pair of critical double plays to kill potential A&M rallies—the first with two on and one out in the bottom of the fourth and the second following a lead hit batsmen in the sixth.
Loux (4-2) suffered his first loss since March 22. The freshman lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned) while walking just one and striking out five.
“Barret did a great job tonight,” Childress said. “(There was that) 0-2 pitch, a mistake, to Kyle Russell and he didn’t miss it. That’s what it comes down to, when two good teams are playing, whoever makes the fewest mistakes is usually going to win.”
Wood (4-3) picked up his fourth victory of the year and tossed the first complete game of his career. The junior allowed four hits, two runs and three walks while fanning three.
The series concludes on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Aggie sophomore Clayton Ehlert (6-2, 3.04 ERA) is scheduled to face off with Texas junior Kenn Kasparek (4-3, 4.70). The game will be televised by FSN Southwest and can be heard locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
“Tomorrow we need to just come out and get after it, keep our chins up and our shoulders pinned back and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year long,” Childress said. “Everybody’s season is a roller coaster. Sometimes you go up for a long time, and we haven’t experienced the downswell, and we’re having to learn how to handle that. That being said, we played the game the right way tonight. We’re going to pick ourselves up and we’re going to be fine, I can tell you that.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• Saturday’s crowd of 7,403 was the largest of the season…it also pushed A&M over the 150,000 mark in total attendance for the sixth time in the last 10 years…the Aggies have drawn 1.61 million fans through the Olsen Field gates over the last decade.
• Jose Duran’s hit streak came to an end at 24 games…it was the longest hit streak by an Aggie since Kirk Thompson’s school-record 26-game hit streak in 1989...Duran was robbed of a ninth-inning hit on a diving catch by Jordan Danks in left center field.
• Luke Anders posted his 20th multi-hit and 14th multi-RBI game of the season.
• Kevin Gonzalez had a career-high seven-game hit streak snapped.
• Game-time temperature was 79 degrees with mostly sunny skies and calm winds.