COLLEGE STATION -- Luke Anders went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI Friday night, but it was not enough as No. 5 Texas scored five runs in the last four innings to defeat No. 9 Texas A&M, 6-4, before a overflow crowd of 7,224 fans at Olsen Field.
“I felt like tonight was a game of opportunities and Texas made the most of theirs,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We had chances in the fourth and sixth innings, but could not stretch the lead.”
Already leading 4-1, A&M had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth and a lead-off double in the sixth, but were unable to capitalize in either situation.
The loss dropped Texas A&M to 41-13 overall and 13-11 in Big 12 play, while Texas improved to 40-14 and 19-6 in the league. The win sealed at least a share of the Big 12 Championship for Texas. The Aggies need one win or one Nebraska loss to secure the No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
Kyle Russell put the Longhorns on the board in the top of the first with his 27th home run of the year. It was a towering solo shot hit well over the wall in right field.
A&M responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead, 2-1. Brandon Hicks singled, stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Ben Feltner. Feltner advanced to second on the throw to the plate by center fielder Nick Peoples and then stole third. Anders then singled through the left side to easily score Feltner.
With two outs and nobody on in the third, Blake Stouffer doubled and Anders followed with his 10th homer of the year to increase the A&M lead to 4-1.
Texas cut the lead to 4-2 with a run in the top of the sixth. Jordan Danks singled and Russell walked to start the inning. Chance Wheeless grounded into a fielder’s choice to move runners to first and third with one out. Bradley Suttle laced a double to the gap in left center to plate Danks, but Wheeless was gunned down at the plate by a perfect relay throw from Hicks at short.
The Horns tied the game in the seventh and chased A&M starter Kyle Nicholson in the process. With one out Peoples singled and scored on a double by Chais Fuller. Kirkland Rivers replaced Nicholson and fanned Travis Tucker for the second out of the inning. Danks then delivered a two-out single to score Fuller from second.
Texas plated two runs in the top of the ninth on only one base hit. Peoples led off with a single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Aggie catcher Josh Stinson. After a groundout, Tucker walked, stole second, and another wild pitch by Kyle Thebeau allowed Peoples to score. On the play, a second throwing error by Stinson allowed Tucker to advance to third. Two walks loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly by Chance Wheeless scored Tucker.
Texas closer Randy Boone (4-6) earned the win allowing just one hit and striking out three in the final two innings. Thebeau (2-5) shouldered the loss.
Nicholson lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Texas starter James Russell threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. He fanned two and allowed one free pass.
The series resumes Saturday with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. at Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
TEX – 100 001 202 – 6 9 1
A&M – 202 000 000 – 4 9 3
TEX: Russell, Krebs (7), Boone (8) and Clark; A&M: Nicholson, Rivers (7), Thebeau (8) and C. Stinson, J. Stinson (9).
E – TEX: Fuller (5); A&M: J. Stinson 2 (2), Nicholson (3)
SB – TEX: Peoples (16), Fuller (2), Tucker (19); A&M: Hicks (27), Feltner (29), Carter (2)
2B – TEX: Suttle (14), Fuller (4); A&M: Stouffer (18), C. Stinson (12)
HR – TEX: Russell (27); A&M: Anders (10)
Win – Boone (4-6) Loss – Thebeau (2-5) Save – none
T – 3:09
A – 7,224