COLUMBIA, Mo. – No. 13 Texas A&M fought back in both games Saturday, but was only able to win the first as the Aggies and No. 25 Missouri split a pair of games at Taylor Stadium.
The Aggies rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the first game to earn a 3-1 win and fought back from a 6-1 deficit only to lose the second game in the bottom of the ninth, 7-6.
With the split, A&M moved to 29-8 overall and to 7-6 in Big 12 action. Missouri went to 25-10 and 7-4 in the league. The rubber game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Kyle Nicholson was outstanding in the first game,” A&M head coach Rob Childress. “We didn’t panic or quit in the second game and we put ourselves in a position to win. The guys fought all the way back to tie the game, but could not make a play at the end. We battled for 18 innings today, but unfortunately we only got one win out it.”
In the first game, Missouri took the early lead in the bottom of the second with an unearned run off Nicholson. Trevor Coleman slapped a double down the right field line and moved to third on an infield single by Jacob Priday. In an effort to get Priday at first on the slow roller, A&M third baseman Dane Carter threw wildly, allowing Coleman to score.
The Aggies tied the game in the top of the seventh with the help of a couple of fielding miscues by Missouri. Kyle Colligan reached on a fielding error by third baseman Kyle Mach. Luke Anders then reached on an error by first baseman John McKee, but Craig Stinson grounded into a double play, on which Colligan moved to third. Pinch hitter Josh Stinson ripped a double down the line in right to easily score Colligan from third.
The Aggies won the game in the top of the ninth with a perfectly executed double squeeze by Craig Stinson. Blake Stouffer and Colligan each reached on errors and moved up a station on a sacrifice bunt by Luke Anders. Stouffer easily scored on the squeeze and Colligan never broke stride and scored on the throw to first.
Nichoslon (8-1) allowed just one unearned run on seven hits in a complete-game effort. He struck out six and walked two.
Crow (4-2) was the tough-luck loser, allowing three unearned runs on just three hits. He fanned five and walked three.
In the second game, A&M took the initial lead in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly by Parker Dalton.
The Tigers answered in the bottom of the third with six runs on only two hits. A&M starter Jason Meyer struggled with his command, walking three hitters and hitting a man in the inning. Aaron Senne delivered the big blow in the inning, driving in two runs with a bases-loaded single.
Meyer did not get out of the third, lasting 2 1/3 innings. He allowed six runs – five earned – on three hits.
Back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Colligan and Anders in the top of the sixth cut the Missouri lead to 6-3.
Brandon Hicks, who had his 17-game hitting streak snapped in the first game, blasted a three-run homer over the wall in left to tie the game, 6-6.
With the score tied, one out, and runners on first and third in the ninth, A&M reliever Kyle Thebeau coaxed Priday to hit a sharp grounder to Hicks at shortstop. Hicks mishandled the ball, but recovered to get the force out at second. The relay throw from Dalton was a half a step late to first, allowing the winning run to score.
A&M reliever Scott Migl threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings to allow the Aggies to get back in the game. Thebeau (2-2) earned the loss.
Kyle Gibson (5-3) retired the last two A&M hitters in the top of the ninth, to earn the win.
A&M – 000 000 102 – 3 3 2
MU – 010 000 000 – 1 7 3
A&M: Nicholson and C. Stinson; MU: Crow and Coleman.
E – A&M: Carter 2 (2); MU: McKee (4), Coleman (3)
SB – A&M: Feltner (23)
2B – A&M: J. Stinson (3)
Win – Nicholson (8-1) Loss – Crow (4-2) Save – none
T – 2:22
A – 448
A&M – 001 002 300 – 6 10 1
UM – 006 000 001 – 7 6 1
A&M: Meyer, Migl (3), Thebeau (7) and C. Stinson; UM: Zagone, Gargano (7), Gibson (9) and Coleman.
E – A&M: Migl (1)
SB – A&M: Hicks (21), Greene (3); UM: Frey (8)
2B – UM: Lollis (3), Senne (7)
3B – Arndt (1)
HR – A&M: Hicks (8)
Win – Gibson (5-3) Loss – Thebeau (2-2) Save – none
T – 2:43
A – 289