Texas Fights Back for Big Road Victory

COLLEGE STATION, TX - Playing in front of a wild crowd of 8,343, the Texas Longhorns fought and scratched their way to an 11-9 victory in ten innings on Friday night. Burnt Orange Beat reports from the game.

Intense.

That's just one of many ways to describe Friday night's crazy battle between Texas and Texas A&M.

In a game that felt like it belonged at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium, the Longhorns used clutch hitting and perseverance to scratch out an 11-9 victory in ten innings.

The contest featured two of the nation's top pitchers in Texas right-hander Chance Ruffin and A&M southpaw Brooks Raley.

Predictably, it was low-scoring in the early going.

Texas took the early lead in the top of the second. Catcher Cameron Rupp led off the frame with a double, then Kevin Keyes advanced him to third on a deep fly ball to right-center. The ‘Horns manufactured the run on a Preston Clark RBI groundout.

Connor Rowe's solo home run in the third and Preston Clark's RBI double in the fourth pushed Texas' lead to 3-0.

While the ‘Horns began to build a comfortable lead, Ruffin was cruising. The sophomore hurler kept the Aggies off the scoreboard through the first five innings, surrendering just one hit and striking out eight.

After Ruffin fanned Raley to begin the sixth inning, he walked first baseman Luke Anders and plunked centerfielder Kyle Colligan. Then DH Joe Patterson deposited a ball over the right field fence, quickly erasing the Texas lead.

Little did the two clubs realize, Patterson's home run was just the start of a crazy night.

Texas fought back to score five runs in the top of the seventh, with the big blow coming on a Tant Shepherd bases-clearing double off the left field wall.

When the dust settled, Raley had surrendered eight earned runs in 6.1 innings.

Leading 8-3, Texas decided to stick with Ruffin for the seventh. Shortstop Adam Smith worked a one-out walk, and leadoff man Brodie Greene made him pay. The second baseman blasted a monster two-run shot over the left field wall for his tenth home run of the season, cutting the lead to 8-5.

The Longhorns went with veteran closer Austin Wood to stop the bleeding, but the Aggies continued to fight back. After a Luke Anders seeing-eye single, Kyle Colligan hit A&M's third home run of the day, making it a one-run game.

The raucous crowd of 8,343 came to life in the bottom of the eighth after Smith hit a ball to deep center field. The hit scored right fielder David Alleman, and Smith raced around third base before being called out at home plate.

Smith didn't agree.

"I definitely thought I was safe," Smith said. "It was a tough call. I thought I got both hands on the plate before [Rupp] tagged me, but unfortunately the umpire just made the wrong call."

Rupp, the Longhorns' backstop, had a different interpretation of the play.

"It was a close play that went our way," he said. "The runner never got there. I put the tag on and got the call."

The deafening crowd seemed to lift the Aggies in the top of the ninth, when Wilson retired Texas in order on two strikeouts and a groundout.

Texas A&M leadoff man Brodie Greene singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but pinch-hitter Ben Petrich—hitting for Raley, who had been ejected while arguing balls and strikes—grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, effectively ending the threat.

The ‘Horns finally got to Wilson in the top of the tenth. Rupp led off with a single to left field, then Tim Maitland was hit by a pitch.

Russell Moldenhauer came to the plate with runners on first and second and nobody out. It's a situation where Texas coach Augie Garrido nearly always calls for the sacrifice bunt.

Moldenhauer swung away. The designated hitter took Wilson's first pitch to center, giving the Longhorns the lead.

"I came up there and caught them off-guard," Moldenhauer explained. "No outs and a man on first and second, in Augieball you usually bunt. Coach gave me swing away. I figured they were just going to groove a fastball and try to let me bunt it, so I was ready to just swing on that first pitch."

Texas tacked on two insurance runs in the frame on a run-scoring wild pitch and a run-scoring double play.

The Aggies got one run in the tenth on a Colligan triple and a Patterson single, but Austin Dicharry entered and retired all three hitters he faced to silence the threat.

The win—coupled with Kansas State's 6-0 loss to Texas Tech—has the Longhorns sitting pretty in the Big 12 regular season championship race.


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