COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Joseph Blanton struck out a career-high 12 batters but the University of Kentucky baseball team could not manufacture any runs to support its junior right-hander, falling to No. 20 Texas A&M, 4-0, in the first day of the Continental Express Aggie Baseball Classic at A&M's C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field Friday night.
"We got a great effort from (Joseph) Blanton but we just couldn't find the gaps with our hitting tonight," Coach Keith Madison said. "We did not take advantage of our scoring opportunities and that's something you must do to have a chance to beat Texas A&M on their home field."
Texas AA26M (8-1) pitcher Justin Moore surrendered back-to-back base hits to sophomore shortstop Spencer Graeter and junior second baseman Brad Pickrell to start the game. After walking sophomore Caleb Stewart to load the bases, the powerful right-hander slammed the door on the Wildcats, striking out the side to end UK's scoring chances. Kentucky would not muster another hit off the Aggies, as A&M improved its series lead over UK to 3-0.
"Justin Moore is very competitive and I thought he did a great job after letting our first two hitters on," Madison said. "He made some clutch pitches when he had to and that's the sign of an outstanding pitcher."
The Cats rallied again in the seventh when Stewart reached on an error by A&M third baseman Erik Schindewolf and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A Russ Rutherford grounder to short advanced Stewart, UK's leading hitter after four games with a .375 batting average, but senior catcher Caleb Brock struck out swinging to end the inning.
UK will play its first twin bill of the season on Saturday, Feb. 23 when it faces Pepperdine (6-6) at 10 a.m. ET and Washington State (3-4) at 1 p.m. ET. In the Classic's opening game, Pepperdine defeated WSU, 7-2. Junior Scott Wade (1-0) will get the starting nod for the Cats, while Pepperdine will send lefty Kevin Beavers (2-0) to the mound.
Kentucky 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 2
Texas A&M 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 X - 4 11 1
WP- Moore (2-0)
LP- Blanton (1-1)
Bat Cats fall to Texas A&M
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