Late-Inning Heroics Lift Aggies to Series Win Over Kansas

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COLLEGE STATION -- Darby Brown singled home Blake Stouffer in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday afternoon to lead No. 8 Texas A&M to a 10-9, come-from-behind win over Kansas at Olsen Field.

Stouffer singled to lead off the ninth and Kansas reliever Andres Esquibel (3-1) was replaced by closer Paul Smyth, who threw 4 2/3 innings Saturday night. Craig Stinson then sacrificed Stouffer to second and Brown delivered a sharp single through the left side.

Brown would not have had a chance to win the game if it were not for Brandon Hicks, and Kyle Nicholson, who also both came through in a colossal way in the late innings.

With two outs in the eighth, Hicks lashed a liner to right, that Brock Simpson lost in the sun for a two-RBI triple. In an attempt to throw Hicks out at third, second baseman Ryne Price overthrew third. Hicks sped toward home and scored because of what was ruled catcher’s obstruction.

“I think gutting it out is a characteristic of what you will see from this team all year,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We did not do a good job on the mound all weekend with the exception of Kyle Nicholson. It is good to see us continue to swing the bats the way we have been, because that will give you a chance to be in every game.”

Nicholson (6-1) threw five innings of relief and allowed just one unearned run on three hits. He also earned the win in Friday’s game throwing five scoreless innings out of the bullpen. For the season, Nicholson leads the Aggies with 45.1 innings of work and has a sparkling ERA of 0.79.

With the win, A&M improved to 20-3 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play. Kansas dropped to 13-11 and 1-2. The game marked the end of Texas A&M’s 19-game homestand in which the Aggies went 17-2. A&M returns to action this Tuesday and will travel to Houston to face No. 7 Rice. First pitch set for 7 p.m. at Reckling Park.

Stinson got the Aggies on the board in the bottom of the second with a mammoth home run over the wall in left center. It was his third of the year and came off Kansas starter Andy Marks.

Kansas responded with four runs (two earned) in the top of the third off A&M starter Jason Meyer. Robby Price came through with a two-out, two-RBI single to give the Jawhawks the lead. After Meyer hit John Allman, Simpson hit a flyball to right that was knocked out of right fielder Brodie Greene’s glove by center fielder Kyle Colligan. Two runs scored on the play, giving the Jayhawks a 4-1 lead.

Parker Dalton, who doubled with one out and moved to third on a balk, scored on a wild pitch in the third to cut the Kansas lead to two runs.

Kansas continued to step on the gas, scoring four more times in the fourth to take a commanding 8-2 lead. With one out and runners on first and second, Dylan Parzyk hit a sharp grounder to third that would have likely been a double play. The ball took a bad hop over the shoulder of Blake Stouffer, allowing a run to score. Robby Price drove in a run with a single, Allman drew a bases-loaded walk, and Brock Simpson lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

A&M would not go away and after three-straight singles by Colligan, Spencer Jackson, and Greene, Dalton hit a grand slam over the wall in left. It was his first of the year and made the score 8-6.

Nicholson replaced Meyer to start the fifth and after a scoreless inning, the Jayhawks pushed across an unearned run in the sixth to stretch the lead to 9-6. Murphy singled to start the inning and with one out sprinted to third on a wild pickoff attempt from Nicholson. He later scored on a groundout by Simpson.

Marks lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

Meyer gave up eight runs (six earned) on six hits. He fanned three and walked two.

KAN – 004 401 000 – 9 9 1
A&M – 011 400 031 – 10 12 2

KAN: Marks, Esquibel (7), Smyth (9) and Parzyk; A&M: Meyer, Nicholson (5) and C. Stinson.

E – KAN: Ry. Price (11); A&M: Greene (2), Nicholson (2)

2B – KAN: Simpson (2); A&M: Feltner (5), Dalton (2)

3B – A&M: Hicks (1)

HR – A&M: C. Stinson (3), Dalton (1)

SB – KAN: Murphy (5), Ry. Price (3)

Win: Nicholson (6-1), Loss: Esquibel (3-1), Save: none

T – 3:00

A – 3,167