COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies were unable to capitalize on a three-run first inning and dropped a 5-3 decision to the Pepperdine Waves in a non-conference series opener on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Friday evening.
The Aggies pounced on the Waves early with a three-run first inning. With one out, Blake Allemand drew a walk and stole second base. Daniel Mengden reached on an infield single and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Cole Lankford bounced a single up the middle to plate both runners for the 2-0 edge. Troy Stein kept the rally going with a single to the gap in left center to put runners on the corners. With two outs and two strikes on Charlie Curl, the Aggies pulled the double steal with Stein baiting the throw to second base and Lankford sliding just left of the tag on the return throw home.
Texas A&M (4-2) had opportunities to add to the lead in the second when Krey Bratsen reached on a leadoff single, stole second and moved to third on a groundout up the middle by Mikey Reynolds, but a strikeout and groundout ended the frame.
The Aggies got the leadoff man aboard again in the fourth with a bunt single by Curl, but Jace Statum’s sacrifice bunt attempt did not get out far enough in front of the catcher and Curl was retired at second base. Statum was caught stealing and Bratsen struck out to quell the rally.
Another leadoff runner was erased in the fifth inning when Reynolds reached on a single, but was caught stealing.
Pepperdine (5-1) shaved two runs off the lead in the top of the sixth inning. David Oppenheim singled up the middle to start the frame and, with one out, Hutton Moyer was hit by a pitch to put two aboard. Austin Davidson broke the scoring seal for Pepperdine with a single to leftfield, plating Oppenheim. After Sam Meyer singled to load the bases, Chris Amezquita hit a slow grounder to second base and the Aggies could only get the out at first, allowing Moyer to score and trim the lead to 3-2.
A&M was able to get a pair of runners on with one out in the seventh, but were unable to manufacture a much-needed insurance run. With one out, Statum singled to leftfield and Bratsen drew a walk, but a flyout by Reynolds and groundout by Allemand dried up the rally.
The Waves took their first lead of the game in the eighth inning. Ranny Lowe hit a single to rightfield, driving A&M starter Kyle Martin from the contest. Matt Kent came in from the bullpen and allowed a bunt single by Moyer and a sacrifice bunt by Davidson to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Zach Brashear replaced Kent on the mound and allowed a two-run single by Meyer for the 4-3 advantage. Meyer went to second on the throw home and, with two outs, advanced to third on a passed ball. Nate Johnson tacked on an insurance run for Pepperdine with a single up the middle, plating Meyer for the 5-3 advantage.
Martin registered the longest outing of his career, going 7.0 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits while striking out six. Matt Kent (0-1) was saddled with the loss. He allowed one run on one hit over 0.1 innings.
Scott Frazier started for Pepperdine, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight. Eric Karch (2-0) earned the win in relief with 1.1 shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Michael Swanner picked up his first save of the season with two hits and one strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
Lankford went 2-for-4 with one run, two RBI and one stolen base. Jace Statum went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and Reynolds went 2-for-5 with a steal.
Meyer, Moyer, Johnson and Oppenheim all went 2-for-4 for Pepperdine. Moyer had two runs and Meyer logged two RBI.
The Aggies and Waves return to action on Saturday with a 6:05 pm contest at Blue Bell Park.
Head coach Rob Childress
On the hitting tonight: I’m pleased with the way we set things up early in the innings. We had 13 guys come to the plate with guys in scoring position. We started the game 2-for-2, but finished 0-for-11. Obviously you’d like to get some hits in those last 11 at-bats. It would’ve been a different outcome.
On Kyle Martin’s outing: It was two great pitchers going at it. Kyle did what we ask him to do. He threw strikes, gave us seven innings and gave us a great chance to win. He pitched a very good game tonight.
Sophomore first baseman Cole Lankford
On tonight’s game: Give all the credit to their pitcher. He threw great tonight. We had good toughness and intensity but we couldn’t get the big hit. We played hard. Our whole team played hard. You’ve just got to give all the credit to their guy.
Senior pitcher Kyle Martin
On his outing: It’s the same approach every game. Coach Childress tells us to go out there and throw strikes. That’s what I tried to do. They swung through a couple balls. I felt really good out there. I was just throwing strikes. I was able to throw my off-speed for strikes. Coach called a great game.