Last night largely played out as the Poor Aggies hoped the series would and as Longhorn fans had to fear it might: Texas really struggled to get runs on the board, making their margin for error tiny. So rather than winning each of its last 10 games at Blue Bell Park for the foreseeable future, the Texas baseball team will just have to live with winning nine of its last 10.
The Ags jumped out to a 6-0 lead that proved just enough to hold off a strong ninth inning rally by the Longhorns. The gut-wrenching part about it is Texas basically handed them most of those runs. In the first inning, A&M got a pair of runs with only one hit due to Texas ineptitude. As edsp pointed out in the comments of the open thread, emotion can be a problem in baseball and it seems to have gotten the best of Texas. The Ag leadoff hitter grounded a ball to Texas shortstop Jordan Etier, who booted it. A sac bunt moved him to second, and Nathan Thornhill let loose a wild pitch to move him to third. The Ag's best hitter, Tyler Naquin, then scored him with a double and he was promptly moved up to third on another wild pitch. He scored on a sac fly, and boom--two unearned runs and an early hole for Texas.
The third inning brought another three Aggie runs--and another two of them were unearned thanks to a fielding error by second baseman Brooks Marlow. The Aggies' second and final earned run of the evening came in the fifth, and Texas was down 6-0. The top of the ninth saw the Longhorns send 10 men to the plate and score five runs of their own to make it a one run game. A parade of singles, a passed ball, and a pair of clutch two-out hits keyed the rally--four of the five runs scored with two away, the final two on a double by Erich Weiss to put the go-ahead run on second. That brought up Jonathan Walsh, who had begun the inning by grounding out--and who ended it by grounding out. That ended it, with Texas winning in earned runs 5-2 but losing where it counts 6-5.
The loss is made even more depressing by the fact that in all the other sports going on this weekend, the Poor Aggies are making serious runs at Texas and could conceivably make a major comeback in the Lone Star Showdown. All Texas needs is another half point to retain the title, but the entire athletic program--well, at least softball and golf--seems to have the complete and total come-aparts this weekend. The number-one ranked men's gold team in particular is a disappointment, as they trail the Ags by nine strokes as of this morning. Not insurmountable, but not great. The women's gold team appears to be hopelessly behind the Poor Lady Ags. Hopefully baseball can ride the momentum of that strong ninth inning, and a tough home crowd, to a pair of victories this weekend and ice the thing. Because blowing a 9-4 lead in the LSS would be a shame.
First pitch today is at 2:30 CDT. This is your open thread, and TV coverage is on FSN. Hook em!