LAWRENCE, Kan. – After securing the series win on Saturday, the No. 2 Texas A&M baseball team came up just short during its bid to sweep Kansas at Hoglund Ballpark as the Aggies fell to the Jayhawks 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
The loss dropped the Aggies’ overall record to 28-8 on the season with a 9-3 mark in Big 12 games.
The Aggies struck first for the third straight day in the series as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead against KU starter Thomas Taylor. After recording the first two outs of the opening inning, Taylor hit Tyler Naquin with a pitch and walked Jacob House to put a pair of runners on base for senior designated hitter Matt Juengel. The Houston, Texas, native cashed in on the early scoring opportunity with a RBI single up the middle before finishing the day as the only Aggie with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 while being hit with a pitch twice.
Kansas (13-23; 3-9 Big 12) quickly countered after the Aggie score in the top of the first as the Jayhawks tallied two runs of their own in the home half of the inning using four singles and a walk off Texas A&M starter Rafael Pienda (5-1) to open a 2-1 advantage.
Pineda took the loss on the mound as he was charged with three runs on eight hits against him. Taylor (4-4), meanwhile, picked up the win for Kansas by scattering four A&M hits while allowing only one run during seven innings of work. The Aggies used seven pitchers in the contest as Jason Freeman, Parker Ray, Estevan Ureigas, Gandy Stubblefield, Daniel Mengden and Kyle Martin all saw action out of the A&M bullpen.
Texas A&M’s defense prevented another Kansas run during the bottom of the third as with a runner on first a double from KU’s James Stanfield seem poised to score a run but a great outfield throw from Brandon Wood and relay from Mikey Reynolds nailed the runner at the plate.
Both starting pitchers were able to settle into a rhythm after the first inning trading zeros on the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth. During the frame, a leadoff double by KU second baseman Jordan Dreiling sparked a two-run rally take featured a bases-loaded walk and RBI single from Stanfield to build a 4-1 KU lead.
Both Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress and right fielder Tyler Naquin were ejected following a called strike out that ended the top of the seventh.
Kansas added an insurance run during the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double by first baseman Jake Marasco to swell its lead to 5-1.
Texas A&M fought hard to the final out as the Aggies scored twice and loaded the bases against KU closer Tanner Poppe in the top of the ninth, but could not find a final hit to tie the game.
The Aggies are back in action on Tuesday, when they host nationally-ranked Rice in a 6:35 p.m. contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
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