COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Junior All-American Michael Wacha tossed eight shutout innings and Texas A&M survived a ninth-inning rally as the ninth-ranked Aggies downed No. 20 Texas 6-5 in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown on Friday night before a Blue Bell Park record crowd of 6,944 fans.
“You knew they were going to make a run at some time, they’re too good of a team not to,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “It just so happened they did it in the ninth inning. I’m proud of our composure … We need to continue to win every game we can. We’ll have our hands full tomorrow.”
In the series opener between the teams, Wacha scattered four hits and punched out nine to improve to 6-0 on the season. He walked just two, both coming in his last inning of work.
“The story of the night was Michael Wacha,” Childress added. “He was absolutely phenomenal.”
The Longhorns (24-15, 11-5) chipped away in their final at-bat, finally breaking the shutout on a one-out passed ball. After a foul out, UT got a two-run single from Mark Payton and a two-run double by Erich Weiss to pull within one. Aggie reliever Kyle Martin then worked cleanup hitter Jonathan Walsh to a 1-2 count before getting him to roll over on a grounder to second baseman Scott Arthur to shut the door and put A&M in the win column.
Offensively, A&M (30-12, 10-6 Big 12) cashed in some big opportunities, scoring its final four runs with two outs and plating four unearned tallies on the night.
The Aggies would take advantage of an error allowing the first batter of the game, Mikey Reynolds, to reach base, and score two quick runs.
Following a Scott Arthur sacrifice that moved Reynolds into scoring position, Tyler Naquin laced a double to right to plate the A&M shortstop with the game’s first run. Following a wild pitch, Jacob House delivered a sacrifice fly, scoring Naquin from third and making the score 2-0.
In the third, House would deliver a flare into left center with two outs to score Reynolds—who had walked to begin the frame—and bump the Aggie lead to 3-0. After another error extended the inning, A&M would eventually load the bases before Troy Stein laced a single through the hole on the left side, bringing in two more and making it a five-run game.
In the fifth, Stein would drive a Nathan Thornhill offering off the very top of the wall underneath the scoreboard in left center, scoring pinch runner Brandon Wood to make the score 6-0. The hit was one of Stein’s game-high three on the night.
Thornhill (4-4) took the loss for UT, allowing eight hits and six runs over six innings of work, although just two of the runs were earned. He walked two and fanned two.
The series now shifts to Austin and UFCU Disch-Falk Field for the final two games. Saturday’s contest is set for 2:30 p.m. and will air nationally on FOX Sports Net. Check local listings for stations and air times near you.
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