MALIBU, CA -- Junior pitcher Michael Wacha took a perfect game into the eighth inning and finished with a two-hit complete game shutout Friday afternoon as the No. 8 Texas A&M baseball team defeated Pepperdine 4-0 on Eddy D. Field Stadium in Malibu, Calif.
“He was amazing and really something special today,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a perfect game into the eighth inning. It was especially impressive because of the talent on their side, being home and comfortable. It was just an incredible performance.”
For Wacha (3-0) the complete game was the third of his A&M career and the third consecutive for the Aggies, who have not had to use a reliever since March 16th against Kansas State. The Texarkana, Texas, native retired the first 21 batters he faced before an Aggie error after a dropped third strike allowed the eighth inning’s leadoff hitter to reach base. The Waves broke up the no-hit bid with an infield single during the next at bat, but Wacha escaped the inning with the shutout intact.
The Aggie defense was impressive behind Wacha and the right-hander, who recorded eight strikeouts himself, was quick to share the praise with his teammates.
“I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t smell it there a little bit,” Wacha said. “I was just focused on throwing strikes and letting my defense work behind me. They all did an incredible job, especially Blake Allemand at third and Scott Arthur at second, who both made some outstanding plays”
Texas A&M’s offense got off to a slow start against Pepperdine starter Jon Moscot (3-3), who did not allow a hit until Allemand led off the top of the sixth with a sharp single to left. Following a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Moscot appeared poised to escape the threat, but the Aggies had other ideas.
Sophomore centerfielder Krey Bratsen plated the day’s first tally with a run-scoring single through the left side to bring home Allemand. The two-out rally continued as Jacob House and Tyler Naquin followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to give A&M a 3-0 advantage.
“We played great defense behind him (Wacha) and their guy was matching Michael pitch for pitch.” Childress added. “We were able to string a few hits together there with two outs in the sixth inning and then extend the lead there in the eight. It was just a great ball game and if you love college baseball you couldn’t ask for more than what you got today.”
Texas A&M added another run in the top of the eighth as the Waves turned a no-out double play with runners on the corners allowing the runner from third to score and the Aggies to extend their lead to 4-0.
After struggling in a no-decision during his last start a week ago against Kansas State, Wacha noted the advantage of being able to get ahead in the count to the Pepperdine hitters on Friday.
“Getting ahead of hitters was a big key coming off of last week’s rough start,” Wacha said. “I was able to come out pumping the strike zone and getting ahead of them real quick. I get into trouble when I don’t throw that first pitch for a strike.”
The Aggies are back in action against the Waves Saturday as they will face Pepperdine twice during a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. (Central Time). The original schedule for the weekend was changed when rain threaten Sunday’s series finale so coaches agreed to play a twinbill on Saturday to ensure all three games of the series would be played.