OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Texas A&M scored nine runs and posted its highest hit total in over two weeks, but it was not enough to overcome a quick Texas start as the ninth-ranked Aggies fell to the 24th-ranked Longhorns, 15-9, Thursday afternoon before 5,384 fans at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
Texas scored 10 runs in the first two innings and added two more in the third to build a quick 12-0 advantage. A&M cut the lead in half in the sixth and scored in the all but the ninth from that point on, but was able to pull no closer than five runs back.
With the loss, the Aggies fell to 42-16 and 0-2 in the tournament, while the Longhorns improved to 35-20 and 1-1.
“We were down real quick before we knew what hit us,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “(Starting pitcher) Brooks Raley had an outstanding start on Friday and he was well-rested. His stuff was good, but when he did make a mistake they made him pay for it. He did make some good pitches, and they hit some ground balls where we weren’t. That’s part of having a big inning. Brooks has been great all year long and was ready to go today, and Texas came and took it from him in a hurry.”
UT sent 10 batters to the plate in the first against Raley (6-2) and plated seven runs. The big blows in the inning were a two-run triple to left center by Kyle Russell and a three-run homer into the left field bullpen by shortstop David Hernandez.
The Longhorns added three more in the second to chase Raley courtesy an RBI single by Preston Clark and a two-run double inside the bag at first by Brandon Belt.
Jordan Danks’ run-scoring single to center in the third made the score 11-0. He would eventually come around to score in the frame on a wild pitch.
The Aggies finally broke through off Texas starter Austin Wood (5-3) in the sixth, sending 11 to the plate and scoring six times.
Three straight singles to start the inning by Dane Carter, Kyle Colligan and Jose Duran put A&M on the board. Three ensuing errors by Hernandez, combined with a pair of base hits, pushed three more runs home and chased Wood from the game.
Aggie catcher Kevin Gonzalez greeted reliever Brandon Workman with an RBI single to left to make the score 12-5 and, after a walk to Brodie Greene, Carter’s fielder’s choice ground ball to short plated pinch runner Ben Feltner for the sixth run of the inning.
Belt answered A&M’s rally with a two-out, two-run home run into the first row of the bleachers in left field in the bottom half of the inning. The first baseman’s home run, his sixth of the year, made the score 14-6.
A&M designated hitter Nick Fleece got the two runs back in the seventh, as the true freshman launched a monster two-run home run over the advertising boards in left field for his second round-tripper of the year.
Duran’s sacrifice fly in the eighth would bring Greene home with A&M’s last run of the afternoon. Texas added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by catcher Cameron Rupp.
Carter, hitting leadoff for only the second time this season, had a team-high three hits on the day. Fleece (2-for-5, 3 RBI), Duran (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Colligan (2-for-5) and Gonzalez (2-for-4, RBI) were the other Aggies with two hits.
Raley (6-2) allowed nine hits and 10 runs over 1 2/3 innings of work. He walked two and did not strike out a batter. Kirkland Rivers was impressive in relief, allowing five hits over four innings of work. The two runs he allowed in the outing came off the bat of Belt in the sixth.
Austin Wood (5-3) picked up the win, lasting 5 1/3 innings and allowing seven hits and six runs (three earned). He did not walk a batter while striking out three.
“Losing is easy,” Childress said. “All you have to do is show up and put on these beautiful uniforms we have, and you can lose. Winning is hard, and these players know how to win. I was proud of the way our last six innings went. We didn’t quit, and had a good outing out of Kirkland Rivers. There are some positives to take out of it but the bottom line is we didn’t win the game.”
Following a day off Friday, the Aggies will conclude play in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship against No. 9 Missouri on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Freshman Barret Loux (4-2, 4.62 ERA) is scheduled to get the start. The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.