WACO, Texas—Landis Ware’s bases-loaded single through the infield in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted No. 9 Baylor to a wild 8-7 win over third-ranked Texas A&M Monday evening before a season-high 4,224 fans at Baylor Ballpark.
The loss by the Aggies (13-5, 2-1 Big 12) came despite a valiant rally in the final two innings. A&M trailed 7-3 entering the eighth before a scoring once in that frame and three more times in the ninth to force extra innings.
The Bears (11-4, 1-2) got a lead single in the last of the ninth and, after a wild pitch and an infield groundout, had the potential winning run at third base. The Aggies intentionally walked two batters to load the bases, then went to Hank Robertson in relief.
A&M brought Scott Arthur in from left as a fifth infielder, then subbed Adam Smith into the outfield for Kyle Colligan. The strategy paid off thanks to some gutsy pitching by Robertson, who got Adam Hornung to fly out to Smith, who was stationed in shallow left center, then a fly ball into center off the bat of Josh Ludy to end the threat and force extra innings.
Caleb Shofner and Joe Patterson tallied back-to-back singles to begin the 10th and, after a Kevin Gonzalez two-strike sacrifice bunt moved both into scoring position, Baylor intentionally walked Nick Anders to load the bases. Bear reliever Logan Verrett, however, was able to get a strikeout and a groundout to push the game to the last of the 10th.
The Bears would load the bases with no outs in the 10th without the benefit of a hit, as an error, hit batsmen, a balk and intentional walk brought Ware to the plate, who delivered the game-winner on a 3-2 pitch just past a diving Brodie Greene at shortstop.
Robertson (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, despite allowing just one hit. He worked two-thirds of an inning and gave up the 10th-inning unearned run and one walk.
Verrett improved to 5-0 with a career-high 6 1/3 innings of work, all out of the bullpen. He allowed nine hits, four earned runs and two walks while striking out 10.
Patterson’s three hits on the night led the Aggies and was a career high, while Petrich and Luke Anders drove in two runs apiece. Shaver Hansen and Joey Hainsfurther had three hits each to lead Baylor.
A&M took advantage of back-to-back walks by Baylor starter Shawn Tolleson to start the game and grabbed a 1-0 lead. Greene would move Kyle Colligan and Brooks Raley into scoring position with his team-leading fifth sacrifice of the year. Five pitches later, Luke Anders’ ensuing groundout to first would plate Colligan with the game’s first run.
In the Aggie second, Gonzalez blooped a two-out single into center field and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. The next batter, Nick Anders, smashed a hard ground ball at Hansen at third, who made a diving stop but skipped the throw past first baseman Dustin Dickerson. The throwing error on Anders’ infield single scored Gonzalez and made the score 2-0.
Baylor responded with four two-out hits in the third, but were able to score just one run thanks in large part to the arm of Raley. With two on, Aaron Miller laced a single to right, where Raley picked the ball up and threw a perfect strike to home to retire Dickerson, who was trying to score from second. Dickerson had singled on the infield two batters earlier, driving in Hainsfurther with the Bears’ first run.
Colligan extended the A&M lead in the top of the fourth. With two on and two outs, the Aggie center fielder greeted Verrett with a single back through the box that plated Joe Patterson, making the score 3-1.
The Bears took their first lead of the night in the sixth inning on a two-out grand slam by Brooks Pinckard off A&M reliever Ross Hales.
A one-out walk to Hornung started the rally. After Ben Booker singled up the middle, both runners moved up on a passed ball to place the tying run in scoring position. Aggie starter Barret Loux got a big strikeout of Gregg Glime, but walked the next batter, Raynor Campbell, on four pitches, to bring Pinckard to the plate and end his outing.
The Bears would add two more in the seventh to bump the lead to 7-3. Dickerson drew a lead walk and scored on a first-pitch double to deep right center by Hansen, who moved to third on the throw home. One out later, Hansen would score on a balk by Hales.
Joe Patterson got a run back for A&M in the eighth, launching his second home run of the year over the fence in left field.
Trailing by three runs, the Aggies came out swinging off Verrett in the ninth, as Nick Anders singled to left center on the first pitch of the inning. One out later, Raley drilled the first pitch he saw into left field and Greene followed with a first-pitch single to left to load the bases.
Luke Anders then drove his brother, Nick, in from third on an RBI groundout to second and pushed the tying run into scoring position. The next batter, Dylan Petrich, delivered in the clutch, as he pushed an 0-1 pitch through the left side of the infield to score two and tie the game and the stage for the late-game dramatics.
Loux allowed four earned runs, seven hits and four walks on the night while striking out seven.
Tolleson lasted 3 2/3 innings and gave up three hits and three runs (two earned). He walked four and struck out one.