HOUSTON, Texas – The Texas A&M baseball team dropped its opening contest of the NCAA Houston Regional at Reckling Park on Friday afternoon, falling to Texas 8-1.
The Longhorns (39-18) broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the first inning. On the eighth pitch of the frame’s opening at-bat, Texas leadoff man Brooks Marlow golfed a 3-2 offering over the rightfield fence for a 1-0 lead. Ben Johnson followed with an infield single and moved to second when shortstop Logan Taylor’s throw was wide of first base. Mark Payton pushed Johnson across with a single to rightfield for the 2-0 edge.
Texas A&M (33-25) got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Logan Nottebrok was issued a base on balls to start the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch by Longhorn starter Nathan Thornhill. With one out, Nottebrok advanced to third on a grounder to first by Taylor and came around to score when Jace Statum bounced a single up the middle, cutting the Burnt Orange lead to 2-1.
Texas tacked on a run in the bottom of the second inning. CJ Hinojosa poked a leadoff single into shallow centerfield and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Collin Shaw. A pair of wild pitches uncorked by Mengden allowed Hinojosa to score, pressing the Texas advantage to 3-1.
The Longhorns put four more runs on the board during the bottom of the third. Johnson started the rally with a leadoff walk and with one out Tres Barrera hit a doubled to leftfield to put both runners in scoring position. An infield single by Madison Carter pushed Johnson across and Hinojosa followed with a wall-banger to left-center to drive in two runs for the 6-1 lead and knock Mengden from the ballgame. With Matt Kent on in relief, Shaw slapped a single to shallow rightfield, knocking in Hinojosa to inflate the cushion to 7-1.
Texas added their final run in the eighth with an RBI single by Shaw.
Mengden (4-9) was saddled with the loss for Texas A&M. He allowed seven runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out one in 2.1 innings of work. Kent worked 5.1 innings of relief, scattering four hits while striking out three and yield one run.
Thornhill (7-2) earned the win for Texas. He surrendered just one run on six hits and three walks while striking out seven in 7.0 innings of work.
Bratsen paced Texas A&M at the plate, going 2-for-3 on the day.
Each of the Longhorns’ first seven batters in the order registered hits in the contest, and Hinojosa led the squad going 2-for-3 with one double, two runs and two RBI. Barrera and Shaw also logged two hits for Texas.
The Aggies return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday as the Maroon and White will play the loser of Friday’s game between host Rice and George Mason at Reckling Park.