COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior third baseman Matt Juengel drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th inning Friday night on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park as the No. 4 Texas A&M baseball team earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over visiting Holy Cross.
The win was the fifth straight for the Aggies (5-0) to open the 2012 campaign and their first extra inning contest of the year.
Texas A&M drew first blood in its first turn at bat as after the first two Aggie batters of the day reached base, Juengel drove in the game's initial run with an RBI double down the left field line. The Aggies have scored in the first inning during each game they have played this spring as the top four batters in the A&M line-up have been outstanding.
The Aggies would leave the bases loaded in the first inning as they stranded 11 men on the night. However, for much of the contest it looked as though a single run would be good enough as starting pitcher Michael Wacha held the Crusader batters in check.
The right-hander from Texarkana, Texas, struck out 11 and allowed just two hits while walking none in seven shutout innings of work. It marked the third time in his career he's reached the double-digit plateau in strikeouts and fell just short of his career high of 12, set last season in a win over Nebraska.
The Aggies pushed across a second run during the home half of the sixth as senior second baseman Scott Arthur took advantage of a one-out, runners on the corners situation by using a safety squeeze to plate the runner from third.
Following a shutout eighth inning on the mound by junior Kyle Martin, freshman Daniel Mengden took the mound in the top of the ninth looking to shut the door on the Crusaders. Holy Cross had other ideas, however, as it used a leadoff double and a hit better to set the stage for catcher Steven Tkowski to tie the game with a two-out, two-run single.
After neither team was able score in the 10th, senior reliever Estevan Ureigas (1-0) was able to induce a big double play to end a Crusader threat in the top of the 11th inning providing the backdrop for the Aggies to win it the home half of the inning.
Arthur got the rally going with a one-out walk and promptly stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With the winning run just 90 feet away, Holy Cross elected to intentionally walk Mikey Reynolds and Tyler Naquin and bring Juengel to the plate with the bases juiced.
The Houston native worked the count to 3-1 and appeared to draw the walk but a called strike brough him back to the plate. After fouling off a tough pitch from Holy Cross reliever John Colella (0-1), Juengel was able to take the full-count offering low for the game-winning walk.Texas A&M baseball is back in action Saturday when the series with Holy Cross continues during a 2:05 p.m. contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The Aggies will send RHP Ross Stripling (1-0, 2.57) to the mound to face Crusader right-hander Matt Croglio (0-0, 0.00).