COLLEGE STATION -- The No. 8 Texas A&M baseball team fought back from deficits of 10-2, 12-10, and 13-12 to tie the game, but Kansas scored four runs in the top of the 11th in a four hour and 26 minute contest on Saturday night to defeat the Aggies, 17-13, at Olsen Field.
“I told the team after the game that I was more proud of them tonight than I have been all year,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “My only disappointment was that every time we scored, they came back and put more runs on the board. We gave them a lot of free base runners from walks and hit batters, but give Kansas credit. They had some big hits that made us pay for our mistakes.”
Seven of Kansas’ 15 runners who scored reached via a walk or hit by pitch.
With the loss, A&M dropped to 19-3 overall and to 1-1 in Big 12 play. Kansas improved to 13-10 and 1-1. The rubber match of the series will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The Aggies tied their season high with 18 hits and were led by Brandon Hicks, who went 5-for-7 with three runs scored. Blake Stouffer continued to drive in runs at a frightening pace, knocking in six on the game. Stouffer now has 37 RBI this season to lead the team.
Kansas started the scoring in the top of the first off A&M starter Kyle Thebeau. With two outs and nobody on, John Allman tripled to right and scored on a single by Brock Simpson to earn the Jayhawks the early lead, 1-0.
A&M tied the game in the bottom of the first with a run off Jayhawks’ starter Zach Ashwood. Ben Feltner legged out an infield single to extend his hitting streak to 18 games and advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw by Ashwood. Stouffer drove in Feltner with a groundout to short.
The Jayhawks tagged Thebeau for six runs on six hits in the top of the fourth to take a 7-1 lead. Buck Afenir drove in a run with a double, Kyle Murphy and Allman drove in runs with singles, and Simpson hit a three-run homer.
Kyle Colligan started the A&M half of the fourth with a double to left center, tagged to third on a flyout to right by Josey Parker and scored on a groundout by Brian Ruggiano.
Kansas tagged on three more runs in the top of the fifth to increase its lead to 10-2. Murphy drove in two with a single and Robby Price drove on the other run in the inning with a single.
The Aggies responded with an eight run bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 10 apiece. Stouffer drove in three runs in the inning with two doubles. Darby Brown and Parker Dalton each had two-run singles and Craig Stinson scored on a throwing error.
Kansas regained the lead in the lead in the seventh on a two-RBI single by Allman, but A&M scored twice in the bottom of the inning when Stouffer chopped a single up the middle to score two runs.
Without the benefit of a hit in the ninth, Kansas pushed the go-ahead run across again. Two walks – one intentional with first base open - and a hit by pitch from A&M reliever Gary Campfield loaded the bases, before Ryne Price lifted a sacrifice to score brother Robby Price.
The Aggies had an answer again when Feltner beat out another infield single that easily plated Dalton to tie the game, 13-13, and send the game to extra frames. A&M had a chance to win the game in the ninth, but Kansas closer Paul Smyth (1-0) coaxed Craig Stinson to ground into a double play with the bases loaded.
The Aggies also had a chance in the 10th but could not capitalize. Darby Brown singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Colligan. Smyth got Josh Stinson and Daman Aaron to ground out to end the inning.
After throwing a scoreless 10th, A&M reliever Scott Migl (3-1) allowed an RBI double to Erik Morrison, a sacrifice fly to Dylan Parzyk, and a two-RBI double to Justin Ellrich.
KAN – 100 630 201 04 – 17 20 3
A&M – 100 180 201 00 – 13 18 0
KAN: Ashwood, Marcin (5), Lane (5), Marciel (6), Smyth (7) and Afenir, Parzyk (9); A&M: Thebeau, Rivers (5), Minks (5), Renfro (6), Heard (7), Campfield (8), Migl (10) and C. Stinson.
E – KAN: Ry. Price 2 (10), Ashwood (2)
2B – KAN: Morrison (9), Ry. Price (6), Afenir (4), Servais (2), Ellrich (4); A&M: Hicks (10), Stouffer 2 (8), Colligan (3)
3B – KAN: Allman (2)
HR – KAN: Simpson (1)
SB – KAN: Ry. Price (2); A&M: Hicks (15), Stouffer (11), J. Stinson (2)
Win: Smyth (1-0), Loss: Migl (3-1), Save: none
T – 4:26
A – 3,545