The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M baseball drops midweek matchup at home to Houston

Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

Junior outfielder Brett Minnich (23) rounds third base at Olsen Field in Blue Bell Park on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

The Tuesday, March 15 evening matchup between Texas A&M and Houston was the latest edition of a long, storied history between the two schools. The two first met on a diamond in 1946, and since 1949 they have played each other at least once a year except for 1962, 2012, 2018 and 2020.
The 174th all-time meeting saw freshman hurler Khristian Curtis make his fourth start with A&M, trying to beat the Cougars for the sixth time in the last seven bouts. Both teams entered at 10 wins, but Houston was able to get its bats going late and take advantage of the maroon and white’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position throughout the game.
Curtis worked a clean and quick first three innings, allowing only one hit, and managed to keep his pitch count low while establishing all of his pitches. The closest opportunity for a score came in the bottom of the first after a series of Houston gaffs, but the Cougars escaped unscathed.
Starting pitching was clearly on display, as the middle innings started after just 45 minutes of play. A&M’s bats stalled, and with a pair of outs in the fourth frame, Houston got on second and third base for its first real scoring threat of the game. Curtis got a groundout, though, to strand the Cougars and keep the game scoreless.
The tides changed in the next half-inning. Graduate outfielder Dylan Rock scored graduate catcher Troy Claunch, who drew a leadoff walk and stole second, with an opposite-field RBI single to break the scoreless tie. Rock had a near-identical hit in the first inning that would’ve scored multiple runs, but got robbed after a sliding catch by Houston’s right fielder.
Curtis made his way through the fifth with ease but allowed a leadoff double in the sixth before being pulled for freshman righty Brad Rudis. In his five innings, Curtis allowed only four hits, struck out a pair and got nine of the 19 men he faced to ground out. His command was on point as well with only one walk.
Soon after, the tying run from Houston came home on a groundout after tagging and advancing to third on a flyout. That run was credited to Curtis — just his second allowed earned run of the year in 18.1 innings.
But, junior outfielder Brett Minnich and Rock reached base to start the bottom of the sixth; after an infield error, the bases would be loaded for freshman infielder Ty Hodge. He went down swinging for the second out, and graduate infielder Kole Kaler grounded out to strand the on-base runners once again. At that point, nine Aggies had been left on base, six of whom were in scoring position.
A&M finally got its go-ahead run after the stretch when sophomore first baseman Jack Moss brought home junior designated hitter Austin Bost with a sacrifice fly. Bost tripled to lead off the inning with a deep drive to the right-field wall. The 2-1 lead was quickly in jeopardy with the Cougars getting runners on the corners off freshman pitcher Chris Cortez. Junior southpaw Joseph Menefee came in to try and limit the damage and gave up a game-tying single.
The wheels started to fall off with Houston managing to load the bases as A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle went to the bullpen a couple of times. Sophomore lefty Will Johnston got a strikeout, though, and was one pitch away from escaping the inning before an infield single got the go-ahead run home. A subsequent triple down the line cleared the bases to give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
The Cougars proceeded to tag on two more in the top of the ninth, growing the lead to six. A&M’s offense went quiet in the ninth with the midweek game coming to an end after four hours of play and a final score of 8-2. Eleven Aggies ended up being left on base as Houston totaled a dozen hits to A&M’s eight.
The maroon and white fell to 10-6 on the season with SEC play starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 18. No. 6 LSU will host the Aggies for a three-game set at Alex Box Stadium on SEC Network+. The Tigers are 14-3 on the year and 12-0 in Baton Rouge, La.

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