COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior All-American Michael Wacha pitched into the ninth inning Friday night as the seventh-ranked Texas A&M baseball team defeated San Diego State 4-1 during the opener of a three-game series on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Wacha (8-0) remained unbeaten on the season as he did not allow a base runner until a leadoff single in the fifth inning. The Texarkana, Texas, native struck out eight allowing only one run on five hits with one walk before exiting with one out in the top of the ninth.
“We saw two great pitchers going at it tonight,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Their guy did a great job; Michael did too. He retired the first 12 that he faced and we put together an inning there where we took advantage of their mistakes and scored three of our four runs with two outs.”
After both teams traded zeroes on the scoreboard for the first two and a half innings, the Aggies got going at the plate and took control of the game with three runs during the bottom of the third.
Senior second baseman Scott Arthur drew a one-out walk to give A&M a base runner and came around to score the evening’s first run on a double by junior shortstop Mikey Reynolds.
Following a double by junior outfielder Tyler Naquin which left two runners in scoring position, the Aggies took advantage of a SDSU fielding miscue by scoring two more runs when a line drive off the bat of Jacob House bounced out of the glove of Aztec first baseman Jomel Torres allowing both runners to come home.
Texas A&M (35-14) put the finishing touches on the four-run rally when sophomore catcher Troy Stein, who went 3-for-4 on the night, doubled down the left field line to score House from second.
The four runs were all that the Aggies could muster off SDSU starter Justin Hepner (3-2), but it would be enough as the Aztecs could only plate a single run in the contest on an eighth inning RBI ground out by pinch hitter Matt Munoz.
San Diego State fell to 22-28 on the season with the loss.
Senior reliever Esteven Ureigas recorded the second out of the top of the ninth in relief of Wacha with a three-pitch strikeout and junior Kyle Martin induced a game-ending ground out to record his fourth save of the year.
“The bullpen was outstanding tonight,” Childress added. “Estevan Uriegas was throwing about as hard as I’ve seen him throw and Kyle Martin came in and got his guy. We pitched, played defense and got some timely hits which allowed us to get a big win on Friday night.”
The victory was the 26th of Wacha’s three-year Texas A&M career moving him in a seventh-place tie for all-time wins at the school with former Aggie hurler Clint Thomas (1973-76).
“Whenever you start the game you always want to go out there and finish it,” Wacha said. “I wasn’t able to go the distance tonight, but I knew the guys in the bullpen had my back and would be able to get the job done.”
The series resumes Saturday when the Aggies and Aztecs face off at 2:05 p.m. Texas A&M will send senior Ross Stripling (8-2, 2.59 ERA) to the mound to face SDSU right-hander Michael Coderoth (3-3, 4.73 ERA).