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No. 8 Texas falls to Texas A&M 12-9

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The Texas pitching woes continued, and the Aggies capitalized for a midweek upset.

@AggieBaseball

On a blustery night in Austin, Texas, an overflow crowd of 7,990 fans, the second largest crowd in UFCU Disch-Falk field history watched Texas pitchers continue to struggle with command as Texas A&M upset the Longhorns 12-9. Aggie first baseman Jack Moss hit for the cycle going 5-5, with five RBI, and two runs scored. Aggie leftfielder Dylan Rock went three for four, with 5 RBI, a home run and three runs scored. Texas A&M cleanup hitter Austin Bost also added a home run for the Aggies. Trey Faltine hit his ninth and tenth homeruns of the season for Texas.

The Aggies opened the scoring in the first inning as, once again, a Longhorn starting pitcher struggled with control to start a game. This time it was right-hander Justin Eckhardt. After walking the first batter of the game, Eckhardt gave up a hit-and-run double to Rock down the third base line that scored Aggie leadoff batter Kole Kaler from first base. The next batter, Moss, lined a single to right to score Rock from second. Eckhardt managed to get out of the inning without any further damage.

The Longhorns answered back in the bottom of the frame. Leadoff batter, left fielder Eric Kennedy ripped ball up the middle that caromed off Aggie starting pitcher Walker Zander and allowed Kennedy to reach first safely with yet another infield single in his Longhorn career. Centerfielder Douglas Hodo, III laid a bunt down the third baseline that Zander pounced on, but his throw to first was late. Hot hitting first baseman Ivan Melendez drove a single into right field to score Kennedy from second and move Hodo to second. Right fielder Murphy Stehly then ripped a hard hit shot off the left foot of Aggie third baseman Ryan Targac. The ball bounced into the glove of Kaler at shortstop, but his throw to third base was too late to get the speedy Hodo who was hustling into the bag. With the bases loaded, Texas catcher Silas Ardoin hit a sharp comebacker to Zander on the mound. Zander threw home to get Hodo, but catcher Troy Claunch’s throw to first hit Ardoin in the back allowing Melendez to score all the way from second base and tie the ballgame at 2 apiece. Zander left the game giving up four hits, three of which never left the infield. The Aggies brought in righthanded pitcher Brad Rudis who retired Faltine and Messinger, both on ground balls to Targac at third.

Eckhardt settled in and retired the side in order in the top of the second inning.

Texas used the momentum from the quick, three up-three down inning to take the lead in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Mitchell Daly led off the inning with a double down the third base line. Designated hitter Gavin Kash then hit a routine ground ball to the shortstop who bobbled it and couldn’t make the throw to first. Kennedy launched a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to move Ardoin to third on the tag up. Hodo followed with another deep fly ball, this one to right field, that scored Ardoin and gave Texas the lead 3-2.

The Aggies came storming back in the top of the third inning, however. After retiring the first batter of the frame, Eckhardt hit Rock to bring up Moss. Eckhardt hung a 3-1 breaking ball that Moss drove over the left-center field wall to put the Aggies up 4-3.

Eckhardt then retired the next two batters in order.

Texas answered back in the bottom of the inning. Stehly led off with a single. After Ardoin grounded out to third, Faltine was hit by a pitch. With runners at first and second, third baseman Skylar Messinger was at the plate. New Aggie pitcher Rawley Hector uncorked a fastball that went all the way to the screen to move Stehly to third and Faltine to second. Messinger then hit a routine ground ball to the shortstop, in front of Faltine. This scored Stehly, but Faltine was caught in a pickle between second and third. He stayed alive long enough to allow Messinger to reach second, but the Longhorns were retired two batters later to end the inning.

It was in the fourth inning that the Aggies did their most damage. Hard throwing righthander Jared Southard came out of the bullpen and retired the first two Aggie batters, the 6th and 7th batters in the lineup, on seven pitches. And then, the wheels came off the wagon for Southard. A single and back-to-back walks set the stage for Dylan Rock. On a 2-2 pitch down and away, Rock hit what looked like a routine flyball toward left-center field. However, with the strong winds blowing from the right field foul pole across to the left field foul pole, the ball carried and left the park for a grand slam putting the Aggie up 8-4.

The Longhorns went scoreless in the bottom of the fourth.

Coach David Pierce put the struggling Southard back on the mound for the top of the fifth inning, and Southard responded by retiring the side in order.

Ardoin led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single to left field. Trey Faltine then jumped all over a breaking ball in the lower part of the strike zone, and drove it 375 feet into the Aggie bullpen. This one did not need any help from the wind. It left the yard in a hurry, and brought the Longhorns to within two runs of the Aggies at 8-6.

The Aggies answered back with a single run in the top of the sixth. Right Hander Zane Morehouse came into the game for Texas, and retired the first two batters he faced. After back-to-back singles by Kaler and Rock, Aggie cleanup hitter Moss drove Kaler in from second to expand the Aggie lead to 9-6.

The score remained 9-6 in favor of the Aggies going into the top of the eighth inning, when the Aggies put up yet another crooked number. Freshman righthander Travis Sthele came into the game for the Longhorns, and summarily walked the lead-off batter, pinch hitter Jordan Thompson. After inducing two straight flyball outs to right field, Sthele seemed to lose his focus. He gave up a hard hit triple down the third base line to the red-hot Moss, which completed his cycle for the game, and scored Thompson all the way from first. Stehle then surrendered a two-run homerun to Bost, which made the score 12-6.

The Texas offense continued to battle in the bottom of the eighth. Daly led off with a single, and pinch hitter Dylan Campbell followed that with a double down the third base line that moved Daly to third. Kennedy grounded out to second base to score Daly and move Campbell the third base. Hodo followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Campbell, and narrow the Aggie lead to 12-8. Melendez singled to chase Aggie reliever Chris Cortez from the game, but new Aggie pitcher Jacob Palisch got Stehly to ground out to the shortstop to end the inning.

The Longhorns put one more run on the board in the bottom of the ninth, when Faltine hit his 10th homerun of the season off of Aggie pitcher Micah Dallas.

Rawley Hector picked up the win for the Aggies, and Jared Southard took the loss for the Longhorns.

The Longhorns travel to Arlington this weekend to take on the Oklahoma Sooners in a Red River Rivalry series at Globe Life Field. The first pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:30 Central.