WACO, Texas – In a duel between two of the Big 12’s best pitchers, No. 6 Baylor defeated the No. 2 Texas A&M baseball team 1-0 Friday night in front of 5,911 fans at Baylor Ballpark.
Hits were at a premium with both Texas A&M’s Ross Stripling and Baylor’s Trent Blank dealing on the mound.
“Tonight was two great pitchers going at it and in a game like that the person who cracks first is usually going to be the one that loses,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “They strung it together in the fifth inning and were able to get a sac fly out of it. We had our shot there in the sixth but couldn’t get that big hit. It’s obviously a disappointing loss.”
Blank (9-0), the nation’s leader in pitching victories, frustrated the Aggie offense by allowing only four hits while recording six strikeouts and walking none during his eight-inning, 107-pitch outing. The right-hander allowed a first inning single but settled in by retiring 14 straight batters before a Blake Allemand single in the top of the sixth.
For his part, Stripling (6-2) kept the Aggies in the contest by working into the eighth inning before departing after allowing just one run on six hits. The right-hander was the tough-luck loser despite pitching at least 7.2 innings for the sixth consecutive start.
Stripling escaped a jam during the home half of the third by intentionally walking Baylor first baseman Max Muncy to load the bases before inducing a ground ball that the Aggie defense turned for an inning-ending double play to keep the game scoreless.
The Bears were finally able to push across the game’s lone run in the bottom of the fifth, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Muncy to take a 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M got a pair of hits during the top of the sixth on Allemand’s single and a double from Scott Arthur but could not score as the potential tying run run was cut down at the plate on a fielder’s choice during the frame.
Senior first baseman Jacob House was out of the starting line for the first time during his two-year A&M career after suffering a bruised foot during Friday night’s series opener. His absence on the line-up card snapped a streak of 107 straight starts for the Mansfield, Texas, native, who was able to come off the bench and pinch hit during the ninth inning.
Senior Matt Juengel replaced House at first base, starting at the position for the first time since May 8, 2010.
Baylor’s Max Garner recorded the game’s final three outs to record his seventh season and second in as many says.
The loss was the first time the Aggies have been shutout since April 12 of last season when they fell at Rice 2-0.
The series concludes Sunday with a 2:05 p.m. contest at Baylor Ballpark. Texas A&M will send right-hander Rafael Pineda (5-1; 2.32 ERA) to the mound to face off against Baylor right-hander Joey Hainsfurther (2-0; 3.67 ERA).