COLLEGE STATION -- Kyle Nicholson threw five innings of scoreless relief Friday night to lead the No. 8 Texas A&M baseball team past Kansas, 9-3, at Olsen Field.
Nicholson (5-1) allowed just two base runners and one hit. He struck out five and walked just one.
“Kyle came in and settled things down,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “It says a lot about our team that we can continue to find ways to win games. We had production up and down the lineup and a lot of different guys made big plays and got big hits for us.”
With the win, the Aggies improved to 19-2 overall and 1-0 in Big 12 play. Kansas dropped to 12-10 and 0-1. The series resumes Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
The Aggies jumped on Kansas starter Nick Czyz for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Ben Feltner singled up the middle with one out, stole second, and advanced to third when catcher Buck Afenir’s throw went into center. Feltner scored on a bunt single by Blake Stouffer, who was later picked off second. With two outs and nobody on, Craig Stinson singled to left, moved up a station when Darby Brown was hit by a pitch, and scored on a single to right by Kyle Colligan.
Kansas answered with two runs of its own in the top of the second to tie the game. A&M starter David Newmann walked Brock Simpson to start the inning and Ryne Price drove him in with a one-out triple down the line in right. Price later scored on a groundout by Afenir.
Stouffer delivered his second and third RBIs of the game with a single to score Parker Dalton and Brandon Hicks in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead for A&M, 4-2. Stouffer chopped the single through the left side on a 0-2 pitch from Czyz.
Newmann struggled with his command and was pulled after issuing his fourth walk of the game and allowing a single to Kyle Murphy. Nicholson entered and after a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, John Allman drove in a run with a groundout. After Simpson walked, Nicholson fanned Erik Morrison to end the inning and preserve a 4-3 for A&M.
Brown yanked a lead-off home run over the wall in right to increase the A&M lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth. It was Brown’s first long ball of the year.
A&M blew the game open in the bottom of the seventh with four runs off Jayhawks’ reliever Andres Esguibel. Colligan drove in a run with a single, Josh Stinson and Hicks each drove in runs with doubles and Parker Dalton perfectly executed a squeeze bunt to score the other run in the inning.
Czyz (2-3) lasted six-complete innings and allowed five runs on nine hits. He struck out eight and walked three.
KAN – 020 010 000 – 3 5 1
A&M – 200 210 40x – 9 12 0
KAN: Czyz, Esquibel (7), Lane (8) and Afenir, Ellrich (8); A&M: Newmann, Nicholson (5) and C. Stinson.
E – KAN: Afenir (2)
2B – A&M: Hicks (9), J. Stinson (3)
3B – KAN: Ryan Price (2)
HR – A&M: Brown (1)
SB – A&M: Hicks (14), Feltner (16), Stouffer (10), Colligan (8), Ruggiano (3), Dalton (9)
Win: Nicholson (5-1), Loss: Czyz (2-3), Save: none
T – 2:56
A – 3,501