Texas Evens Series With 2-1 Win Over A&M

Hitting? Who needs hitting? Eventually Texas will, if it hopes to extend its NCAA-leading College World Series appearances to 32 next month. But on a sultry Saturday night in Austin, the Horns got the most out of three hits to post a 2-1 win over Texas A&M to even the series at one-game apiece.

Closer to the truth, Texas got the most from its defense in critical situations as the Aggies stranded 13 base runners on the evening. Despite peppering three Longhorn pitchers for ten hits, A&M did not push across its single run until the top of the ninth. In all probability, the win secures the No. 3 seed at the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City later this week while virtually eliminating the Aggies from the post-season. Texas is now 42-12 on the year while 15-10 in conference action; the Aggies fall to 30-24-1 overall, 9-17 in league play.

RHP Kyle McCulloch upped his record to 9-3 on a still, 97-degree late afternoon as summer arrived early in Austin. Closer J. Brent Cox notched his third save of the year after the Aggies loaded the bases in the ninth. LHP Jason Meyer (5-5) shouldered the loss for A&M. Freshman C Todd Gilfillan notched his fourth start of the season after Taylor Teagarden reinjured his back Friday night. The senior catcher is listed as day-to-day.

C Justin Pouk laced a one-out single into center field in the top of the second for the first hit of the ballgame. One out later, 2B Parker Dalton doubled down the left field line to send Pouk to third. But McCulloch forced a DH Ryan Hill groundout to end the inning. Carson Kainer opened the home half of the frame by sending Meyer's fastball into left-center field for a stand-up triple. After DH Will Crouch went down swinging and 1B Chance Wheeless flew out to first, SS Cliff Pennington misplayed RF Nick Peoples' sharply hit grounder as the Horns got on the scoreboard first with an unearned run.

CF Brandon Glover drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on RF Andrew Baldwin's single into right field. With runners on the corners (and indicative of what happened all night for the Aggies) Hill hit into a double play as Texas doused the A&M uprising. 3B Austin Boggs and Pouk singled up the middle to open the fourth for the Farmers. The Horns tagged the lead runner at third on LF Keith Stein's bunt. That's when Texas turned its second double-play in as many innings with the force-out at third and David Maroul's pinpoint throw to first.

In the home half of the fourth, it took only one pitch for 2B Seth Johnston to send Mister Spalding over the wall in left-center field for his personal-best eighth homer of the season. (It proved to be Texas' only earned run of the night, but it was enough.) An unnerved Meyer then issued four straight balls to Kainer, who then advanced to second on Crouch's sacrifice bunt. Wheeless' deep shot to center put Kainer 90 feet from home. After Peoples reached on a walk, putting runners on the corners with two down, the Aggies put RHP Kyle Nicholson on the mound to face Maroul. The senior went down swinging on a 2-2 pitch but the Horns took a 2-0 lead into the top of the sixth.

McCulloch began to tire, surrendering consecutive two-out singles but then retired 1B Coby Mavroulis on three pitches as the Aggies continued to strand base runners. Freshman RHP Adrian Alaniz came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and sat down the side in order. Longhorn bats remained as listless as the central Texas breeze as the team clung to a two-run lead. Alaniz's offspeed breaking ball is thing of beauty as he forced another three-up, three-down inning.

CF Drew Stubbs boasted a season-best 19-game hitting streak before going 0-for-7 in the series. After Stubbs and the Horns went down swinging in the bottom of the eighth, Alaniz surrendered a pair of one-out singles to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth. Pennington grounded out to first but both Aggie runners were now in scoring position with two down.

Cox, who threw 76 pitches in Friday night's loss, came on in relief needing one out to secure a Longhorn win. Instead, he walked CF Brandon Glover to load the bases, bringing Boggs to the plate. For the second night in a row, Maroul committed a ninth-inning error as he misplayed Boggs' infield hit to plate the Aggie run. But Maroul redeemed himself when he scooped up Pouk's shot down the third-base line and fired a bullet to first to end not only the contest but also (for all intents and purposes) the A&M season.

Winning the series against its archrival is about all that is at stake for the Aggies when the two square off Sunday. (The Horns mathematically won the inaugural all-sports Lone Star Showdown weeks ago.) First-pitch is set for high noon on an ESPN2 national telecast.

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