WACO, Texas – Kyle Nicholson struck out a career-high 10 hitters and Blake Stouffer hit a pair of two-run homers Friday night to lead No. 16 Texas A&M past Baylor, 12-7, at Baylor Ballpark.
Nicholson (10-1) bested his nine-strikeout effort of last weekend against Oklahoma State and became the first Aggie 10-game-winner since Zach Jackson in 2004. He lasted seven-complete innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. His ERA moved from 1.24 to 1.35 in 86 2/3 innings.
“Any win on the road in this conference is a big win,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Getting on the board early was big and allowed Nicholson to relax a little.”
With the win, A&M improved to 34-10 overall and 10-8 in Big 12 play. Baylor dropped to 24-20 and 7-12.
The Aggies took the early lead off Baylor starting pitcher Jeff Mandel in the top of the third. Brian Ruggiano singled to center and moved to third on a sharp single to left by Parker Dalton. Brandon Hicks lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center to allow Ruggiano to score. With two outs and a 0-2 count, Stouffer hit his first homer of the game over the wall in right to make the score 3-0.
Luke Anders hit his ninth long ball of the year in the top of the fourth to increase the A&M lead to 4-0.
Stouffer delivered his second homer of the game and sixth of the year in the fifth. It was also a two-run shot that also scored Hicks, who singled to lead off the inning.
Baylor got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs. Chase Gerdes doubled to right and moved to third on a bunt single by Beamer Weems. With two outs, Matt Czimskey legged out an infield single, allowing Gerdes to score and Matt Sodolak doubled to left to score Weems. Czimskey was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.
The Aggies answered in a big way in the top of the seventh with six runs to make the score 12-2. With two outs and nobody on, Kyle Colligan doubled to chase Mandel from the game. Drew Jeffcoat took the mound and allowed four-straight singles to Anders, Craig Stinson, Daman Aaron, and Brian Ruggiano. Parker Dalton then belted a three-run homer over the wall in left, his fourth homer of the year.
Baylor scored four in the eighth to cut the lead to 12-6. Matt Sodolak drove in a run with a groundout, Shaver Hansen drove in the second with a single and Paul Miles drove in two with a double.
Baylor ninth added its seventh and final run in the ninth courtesy of an RBI single by Beamer Weems.
Mandel (5-7) allowed seven runs on a career-high 10 hits. He struck out five and did not walk a man.
Game two of the three-game set will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at Olsen Field.
A&M – 003 120 600 – 12 16 1
BAY – 000 002 041 – 7 11 1
A&M: Nicholson, Meyer (8), Renfro (8) and C. Stinson, J. Stinson (8); BAY: Mandel, Jeffcoat (7), Springston (7) and Czimskey, Glime (9).
E – A&M: Dalton (10); BAY: Campbell (10)
SB – A&M: Feltner (26), Ruggiano (4)
2B – A&M: Colligan (7); BAY: Gerdes (10), Sodolak (8), Miles (1)
3B – BAY: Booker (6)
HR – A&M: Stouffer 2 (6), Dalton (4), Anders (9)
Win – Nicholson (10-1) Loss – Mandel (5-7) Save – none
T – 3:08
A – 4,444