COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sophomore catcher Troy Stein enjoyed a career night at the plate, going 3-for-4 while driving in three runs, however, the No. 8 Texas A&M baseball team dropped its Big 12 opener to Kansas State 15-12 Friday night on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
“We saw a lot of toughness and a lot of fight out of our team tonight,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Bottom line is we just didn’t get it done on the mound. You score 11 runs on a Friday night; you would think we’d be celebrating right now. They got big hits with two outs and two strikes. I thought our guys did real well and I was proud of the offense. It would’ve been real easy for them to just roll over after giving up a seven spot in the second inning, but they hung in there and battled back.”
The setback dropped the Aggies’ season record to 14-5 overall and 0-1 in the league, while K-State improved to 12-6 on the year with a 1-0 Big 12 mark.
The evening got off to an unfortunate beginning for A&M and starting pitcher Michael Wacha as the Wildcats struck for seven runs in the top of the second inning, a frame that featured a grand slam from KSU first baseman Wade Hinkle.
Wacha struggled on the mound for the first time this season as the right-hander gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings of work.
A&M hit the comeback trail in the bottom of the third by scoring three runs, two on a single up the middle by Matt Juengel.
After KSU scored in the top of the fifth, the Aggies crept to within a couple runs at 8-6 as junior right fielder Tyler Naquin led off the bottom half of the inning with his first home run of the season and Stein contributed a two-run single.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 9-6 in the top of the sixth before the Aggies roared back to plate five runs and take their first lead of the night at 11-6. Juengel kick started the rally with a single to third base and after advancing to second on a wild pitch, scored on a Brandon Wood RBI single later in the frame. Sophomore centerfielder Krey Bratsen brought home two more runs and tied the game with a looping RBI single over KSU second baseman Ross Kivett. Stein came through again with a RBI double to score Bratsen and give the Aggies their first lead of the night before freshman second baseman Blake Allemand put a crescendo on the frame by tripling into the right field corner to open an 11-9 A&M advantage.
The Wildcats quickly tied the game at 11-11 during the top of the seventh before plating four runs against A&M reliever Daniel Mengden (0-2) in the eighth.
Texas A&M scratched across a run during its at bat in the bottom of the ninth but could not avert dropping a second straight contest.
The series continues Saturday at 2:05 p.m. as the Aggies send right-hander Ross Stripling (2-0, 2.93 ERA) to the mound to face Kansas State lefty Joe Flattery (3-1, 4.50 ERA).