No. 8 Aggies fall to No. 7 Rice

With a possible super regional hosting opportunity on the line, the No. 8 Aggies saw their red hot bats cool off on Tuesday night, as No. 7 Rice cruised to an 11-2 victory. Aggie Websider reports live from Olsen Field with reaction from head coach Rob Childress and A&M players after the disappointing loss.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M second baseman Blake Stouffer extended his hit streak to a career-high 13 games with a first-inning solo home run off of Rice starter Mike Ojala, but that was one of the only bright spots for the eighth-ranked Aggies, who fell to No. 7 Rice 11-2 in front of 5,570 fans at Olsen Field on Tuesday night.

While Stouffer continued his hitting streak, the Aggies saw their 23-game mid-week game winning streak—and 13-game overall winning streak—come to an end with the loss.

But more disappointing than an end to any streak is the impact the loss may have on the Aggies' hopes of hosting a super regional in the NCAA Tournament as the Owls now hold the head to head advantage with a nine-run win in College Station.

"Anytime you beat a ranked team on the road it really influences your RPI. We won three games this weekend and our RPI went down, so we need wins like this if we're going to have a chance to host a super regional," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham, who improved to 26-16 as a head coach against the Aggies. "But there's a lot more games to play and I'm sure A&M will do well. They've got a really good team."

The Owls wasted no time jumping on the Aggies, as Rice leadoff hitter Jared Gayhart sent the third pitch of the game over the right-centerfield fence to give the Owls a 1-0 lead.

Stouffer put the Aggies on the board in the bottom of the frame, but the Owls put a three-spot on the board in the top of the third. Jimmy Comerota reached on an error by Aggie shortstop Jose Duran, followed by a single from Diego Seastrunk to set up a wind-aided three-run homer by Rice left fielder Aaron Luna, giving the Owls a 4-1 lead.

But the knockout blow came two innings later when Aggie pitchers Scott Migl and Carson Middleton put the first three Owls on base with a hit batter and two walks, loading the bases with no outs. Rice took advantage with a three-run double by Adam Zornes.

A walk, a wild pitch and two base hits later, the Owls had extended their lead to 10-1.

The Owls tacked on another unearned run in the sixth inning after a three-base error by A&M left fielder Ben Feltner put Owls third baseman Diego Seastrunk on third to lead off the inning.

Seastrunk scored on a sacrifice fly by Rick Hague, giving Rice an 11-1 lead after six innings of play.

A&M center fielder Kyle Colligan smashed a solo homerun into Aggie Alley, but it was too little too, late for A&M.

Only nine of the Owls' 11 runs were earned thanks to three defensive errors by the Aggies.

"Give Rice credit, they came in here and took it to us and took advantage of every mistake we made," said A&M head coach Rob Childress. "One team showed up ready to play and one showed up and was just okay. When teams make mistakes against good teams they get magnified and obviously they were tonight.

The Aggies had been red hot at the plate entering Tuesday night's game, batting .362 as a team in the last 13 games. But the Aggies managed to scratch just six hits in 33 at bats—two of which were solo homers.

"I'm disappointed, our players are disappointed, we hate losing," Childress said. "But the sun is going to come out tomorrow and we've got to get better and get ready for Baylor."

The Aggies will return to action on Friday night in a Big 12 showdown with Baylor at Olsen Field before traveling to Waco for the final two games of the series on Saturday and Sunday.


of A&M head coach Rob Childress' reaction after the game.


TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:

• The 5,570 in attendance marked the largest non-conference regular-season crowd at Olsen Field since April 5, 2005 (5,575 vs Sam Houston State).
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to seven games.
• The last team to beat the Aggies in a mid-week contest was Houston on April 19, 2006.
• Rice's 11-run output was the most by an Aggie opponent this season.
• Texas A&M fell to 1-1 on the year against ranked opponents.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series, 175-89-2…Rice has won the last five meetings at Olsen Field.




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