Wacha Leads Texas A&M Past K-State Thursday

Jason King had three hits Thursday evening

May 26, 2011

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Texas A&M's Michael Wacha shut down Kansas State with eight solid innings to lead the Aggies to a 4-1 victory Thursday in a winner's bracket matchup of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at RedHawks Field at Bricktown.

With the win, No. 2 seed Texas A&M improved to 40-18 on the season and advanced in the winner’s bracket of Division Two as the undefeated team. The sixth-seeded Wildcats fell to 35-22 and into the loser's bracket. The Cats will try to stave off elimination against No. 3-seed Oklahoma at 7 p.m., Friday.

Wacha (7-3) allowed just one run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. After Jason King doubled home a run in the first, Wacha retired 19 of the next 21 batters and faced just one over the minimum until Dan Klein doubled off the left-field wall with one out in the eighth inning.

“It was pretty simple. Michael Wacha pretty much dominated tonight,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We never could string together at-bats. We would get a couple of doubles and need a two-out hit to score them and never got it done. He made pitches when he had to make pitches.”

Nick Fleece worked around an infield single in the ninth to record his third save of the season.

Texas A&M strung together three two-out hits in the second inning off K-State starter Matt Applegate (5-4), including a RBI single by Brandon Wood and a run-scoring double by Kenny Jackson to take a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Jacob House drove home a run and when Texas A&M loaded the bases with one out the Cats turned to reliever Justin Lindsey. The right-hander recorded a strikeout and a fielder’s choice to get out of the inning and went on to throw five scoreless frames after that to keep K-State in the game.

“He gave us a chance,” Hill said of Lindsey. “He held it to 3-1 and forced them to throw up a lot zeroes. You couldn’t let them extend the score there knowing their pitching staff. Justin was outstanding tonight. He had great command. He made big pitches when he had to. He really matched Wacha for that period of time.”

Lindsey allowed just four hits in 5.2 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. He recorded the longest relief outing by a Wildcat since Thomas Rooke went 7.1 innings at Texas Tech in 2008.

King collected three of K-State’s six hits. His first-inning double extended his hitting streak to a career-long 14 games, the longest by a Wildcat since Carter Jurica ended his career on a 14-game hitting streak last season. King also registered his 48th career double to tie for fifth in school history. In two tourney games, King is 6-for-8 to rank second in both average and hits.

Adam Smith led Texas A&M by going 2-for-3. Charlie Curl drove in the final Aggie run in the ninth inning on a two-out infield single.

Kansas State will take on Oklahoma for the second time in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at 7 p.m., Friday. The Cats defeated the Sooners, 5-4, in the teams' opening game of the tourney on Wednesday.  Friday's game can be heard on the K-State Sports Network and online at www.k-statesports.com. Live video of the game is available at www.big12sports.com.