HOUSTON -- Darby Brown went 3-for-6 with four RBI and Kirkland Rivers threw two scoreless innings in relief on Tuesday night to lead No. 8 Texas A&M past No. 7 Rice, 10-9, in 11 innings at Reckling Park.
Ben Feltner singled with one out in the 11th, stole second, and scored when Blake Stouffer reached on an error by Rice first baseman Joe Savery to give the Aggies the lead. The steal was the second of the game for Feltner, who is now 18-for-18 on the season.
Rivers (1-1), who retired the side in order in the 10th, coaxed Brian Friday to ground into a fielder’s choice with runners on first and second to end the game and earn the win.
With the win, the Aggies improved to 21-3, while the Owls dropped to 17-8.
A&M took the early lead in the top of the first with a pair of runs off Rice starter Chris Kelley. Brandon Hicks drove the first pitch of the game into right center for a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Feltner. Blake Stouffer walked and Craig Stinson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Darby Brown then hit a sharp grounder up the middle that caromed off a diving second baseman Aaron Luna’s glove into shallow left field, allowing two runs to score.
Rice answered with a run in the bottom of the first off A&M starting pitcher Scott Migl. With two outs and nobody on, Tyler Henley and Joe Savery delivered back-to-back doubles to cut the A&M lead to 2-1.
The Aggies faced three different pitchers in second and scored two runs to increase their lead to 4-1. Kelley was lifted in favor of Kyle Gunderson after a lead single in the second by Parker Dalton. After Gunderson allowed an RBI double to Hicks, he was replaced by Jonathan Runnels. Later in the inning, Craig Stinson lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Hicks. Scott Lonergan came in to replace Runnels and got Kyle Colligan to fly out to deep left to end the inning.
Rice took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the third when Luna hit a grand slam over the wall in left. All four runs were unearned as an error extended the inning.
The Owls extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth to 7-4. After allowing a lead single to Henley, Migl was replace by Michael Heard. Heard allowed a single to Savery and he was replaced on the mound by Kiel Renfro, who promptly walked Luna to load the bases. After Henley was throw out at home trying to advance on a wild pitch, Savery scored on a single by Jordan Dodson. Luna later scored when Dodson got caught in a rundown between first and second.
The Aggies regained the lead in the top of the sixth with a four-run inning. Dalton was hit by a pitch and Hicks singled. Dalton scored and Hicks moved to third when Feltner laid down a bunt that was thrown into left field by catcher Danny Lehmann. Stouffer then walked to load the bases before Brown singled to drive in his third and fourth runs of the game. Kyle Colligan then earned A&M the lead with a single.
Dalton scored his third run of the game on a passed ball by Lehmann in the seventh to increase the A&M lead to 9-7.
Matt Ueckert came on in relief in the sixth for his first appearance of the year. He retired the side in order in the sixth but ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kyle Thebeau replaced Ueckert and got pinch hitter Jess Buenger to harmlessly fly out to left to end the inning.
Rice did not get a hit in the eighth but managed to push two unearned runs across to tie the game at nine. Chad Lembeck struck out to start the inning but reached on a wild pitch and Friday walked. Diego Seastruck laid down a bunt that was fielded by first baseman Brown and thrown into foul territory down the line in left. Lembeck scored on the play, Friday moved to third and Seastruck made it to second. Friday scored later in the inning on a bases-loaded walk.
The Aggies return to Big 12 play this weekend with a three-game series at Oklahoma.