COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies fell to the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars, 10-8, on Tuesday evening in a marathon of a game on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
The Aggies fall to 18-12 while the Cougars improve to 23-5. The contest lasted 4 hours, 12 minutes, A&M’s longest game of the year.
Ty Schlottmann (0-1) was saddled with the loss, despite only giving up one run on three hits while striking out four over 2.1 innings. Logan Taylor and Cole Lankford paced the offense for the Aggies. Taylor went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored while Lankford blasted a homer and drove in three runs.
Houston struck first in the top of the second after Justin Montemayor led off the frame with a single back up the middle. Michael Pyeatt moved Montemayor to second on a sacrifice bunt before Josh Vidales pushed the run in from second on a base hit through the right side, but was cut down at second in an attempt to stretch a single into a double.
The Cougars added on to the early advantage in the third. Ashford Fulmer legged out a single on a ball hit up the middle. After stealing second, Fulmer scored on a double to the left-center gap by Frankie Ratcliff to go ahead 2-0.
A&M would strike back in the bottom of the third, notching four runs on four hits to take the lead. Taylor led off the frame with a double to the left-center gap. Krey Bratsen notched a single to shallow right-center when a bobble by the centerfielder allowed both runners to advance 90-feet and put the Aggies on the board. Blake Allemand laced a single down the leftfield line, scoring Bratsen and tying the game. Lankford then blasted the 1-2 offering over the bullpen in right to give the Maroon and White their first lead of the evening.
Houston would reclaim the lead in the fourth after batting around, scoring five runs on six hits to take a 7-4 lead. Montemayor singled up the middle to lead off the frame and Pyeatt followed with a single to left to chase A&M starter Matt Kent from the game. The lefty allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out one over three innings.
With Parker Ray on the bump in relief, the Cougars pounded out three consecutive hits with Vidales logging an RBI single up the middle, Jordan Stading reaching on a bunt single to load the bases and Fulmer singling down the leftfield line for two RBI. After getting an out on a sacrifice bunt and reloading the bases on an intentional pass, Casey Grayson notched a single just past the outstretched glove of Allemand at third to tack on two more runs for the Cougars, giving UH a 7-4 advantage.
The Aggies would battle back to tie the game in the fourth after the first five batters reached base to open up the inning. Troy Stein led off the frame with a single back through the box and Taylor followed with a single to center. Bratsen hit a shot that caromed off the pitchers glove, resulting in an error to load the bases. Patrick McLendon and Allemand each drew four-pitch walks to cut the deficit to 7-6 before Lankford knocked in his third RBI of the contest with a fielder’s choice to second, but no out was recorded on the play as the second basemen made an errant toss to the bag. A&M would leave the bags full, however, as Mitchell Nau popped up on the infield and Hunter Melton and Nick Banks each struck out swinging.
Houston would reclaim the lead for the third time on the evening in the sixth on the Ratcliff solo home run to left off Schlottmann.
In the top of the eighth, the Cougars tacked on two insurance runs to take a 10-7 lead. Fulmer led off with a single through the left side and Kyle Survance was hit by Andrew Vinson’s pitch to put runners on first and second.
AJ Minter entered in relief of Vinson and got two quick outs on a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, but a wild pitch and a Montemayor single allowed the Cougars to expand on their lead.
A&M would move the tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth. Stein reached on a single through the left side and Jace Statum singled through the right side with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. Allemand would reach on a fielding error by the third basemen, allowing Stein to score. A double-steal with two outs moved the tying run 180-feet away, but Lankford grounded out to first to end the threat and the game.
Bubba Maxwell (2-0) earned the victory for Houston and Chase Wellbrock recorded his seventh save by holding the lead in the ninth. Ratcliff went 3-for-3 and came up a triple shy of the cycle to lead the offense.
The Aggies continue their five-game home stand on Friday when they welcome the 21st-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. To learn more about the team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @Aggie_Baseball on Twitter.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
“That’s a tough one to swallow. With Houston’s pitching staff, if you told me we were going to get 14 hits and score eight runs, I’m going to tell you we are going to win going away. I’m very disappointed in us collectively on the mound, and very proud of our offense. We come back and score four in the third down two, and we go right back out and give up five. We had a couple other spots to break them—there in the fourth inning, bases loaded, no outs, and the middle of our order up. But, I thought offensively we were fantastic tonight at times. A couple spots here and there, but you can’t ask for more than 14 hits on a Tuesday night against Houston. We didn’t make it stand up on the mound.”
Sophomore Shortstop Logan Taylor
On the game…
“I thought the guys competed pretty well. Their pitching staff did a great job. Overall, I thought we swung the bat well. Our approach stayed good. We drove the ball; we just couldn’t get that big hit. We’re going to come out on Friday and hopefully get that big hit and keep competing.