HOUSTON, Texas – The Texas A&M baseball team saw its season come to a close Monday night in front of 6,825 fans at Reckling Park as the Aggies fell to Texas 4-1 in the title game of the NCAA Houston Regional.
Texas A&M pounced on the Longhorns for a run in the top of the first inning. Blake Allemand worked a walk to start the game and moved to third on a throwing error by Texas’ third baseman Zane Gurwitz on a bunt single by Ryne Birk. A&M first baseman Cole Lankford hit a long fly to centerfield to plate Allemand with the sacrifice, staking the Aggies to a 1-0 lead.
Texas responded with a rally in the home half of the first. Brooks Marlow reached on an error by Lankford to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Johnson. After Mark Payton flied to right for the second out of the inning, Tres Barrera snaked a single through the left side of the infield, driving in Marlow to knot the game at 1-1.
The Longhorns (41-19) took advantage of a couple of Aggie errors to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Madison Carter started the frame bouncing a single up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by C.J. Hinojosa. An error by shortstop Allemand on a grounder by Collin Shaw put runners on the corners, and after Kacey Clemens flied out for the second out of the inning, Carter came home to score when third baseman Logan Nottebrok was unable to field a grounder to the hot corner to give Texas the lead.
Texas mounted a rally to add separation in the bottom of the seventh. Mark Payton was issued a leadoff walk, his third of the game, driving reliever Matt Kent from the contest. With Andrew Vinson on in relief, Barrera struck out swinging, but Carter drew a walk to put two on, and Hinojosa followed by golfing a double down the leftfield line to drive in Payton for the 3-1 lead. With Ty Schlottmann in from the bullpen to spell Vinson, Collin Shaw hit a fly out to center, plating Carter for the 4-1 advantage.
Corey Ray (6-1) was the hard-luck loser for the Aggies. He yielded two unearned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two in 5.0 innings of work.
Chad Hollingsworth (3-0) earned the win for Texas. He put forth a career-best, complete-game effort, allowing just the one unearned run on two hits and five walks while striking out three.
Texas advances to the Super Regional where it will face either Houston or LSU in an undisclosed location.
The loss ended the Aggies’ eighth consecutive NCAA postseason run. A&M’s season came to a close with a 36-26 record.