April 1, 2011
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – A fifth-inning bases-clearing triple by Texas A&M’s Matt Juengel sparked the fifth-ranked Aggies to a 6-3 victory over Kansas State Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, Texas A&M improved to 21-5 overall and 6-1 in Big 12 play, while the Wildcats fell to 15-10 on the year and 1-6 in conference action.
K-State took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Chase Graskewicz and had a chance for more with two runners on base with just one out. But Aggie starter John Stilson forced Tanner Witt to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the fifth, Texas A&M strung together three-straight infield singles – including a pair of bunts – off K-State starter Kyle Hunter (2-2). Reliever Evan Marshall came on to face Juengel, who slapped the third pitch he saw from the Wildcat right-hander down the right-field line and into the corner to clear the bases and put A&M on top 5-3. Jacob House followed with a ground out to bring in Juengel and push the Aggie advantage to three.
“They had three balls that didn’t leave the infield, and they caught us a couple times with two-strike bunts,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We just needed to get outs right there and having the bases loaded made it a difficult situation.”
Stilson (2-1) rebounded after giving up a pair of runs in the first inning. The right-hander worked seven innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts. Aggie closer Joaquin Hinojosa picked up his sixth save of the season, but the Wildcats made it difficult in the ninth as they put two on with no outs. Hinojosa forced a pair of ground outs and recorded a strike out to end the game.
Hunter surrendered five runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Despite falling to 0-2 in Big 12 play, the left-hander has struck out at least six batters in each of his last six starts.
The Wildcats plated two runs in the first inning off Stilson, who had allowed only five earned runs in six previous starts. Witt led off with a walk and moved to third when Nick Martini singled. Jason King was next and laced a double down the left-field line to bring home Witt. Mike Kindel hit an RBI ground out to make the score 2-0.
Texas A&M tied the game in the fourth stringing together a hit-by-pitch, a walk and a one-out single to load the bases. Kenny Jackson hit a ground ball to Wildcat first baseman Shane Conlon to score a run and when Conlon's throw to second base went into the outfield, an unearned run came home to tie the game at 2-2.
K-State responded in the bottom half of the inning when Conlon walked and was sacrificed to second base before scoring on Graskewicz’s base hit.
The Wildcats had multiple scoring opportunities in the game as they had runners in scoring position in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings, but could not get a timely hit to score a run.
Martini tied his career high with four hits and extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 85, just one shy of the longest known Division I record. King recorded his fourth multi-hit contest in the last five games by going 2-for-5 with one RBI.
Texas A&M was led offensively by Tyler Naquin and Kevin Gonzalez as each had two-hit games.
The Wildcats received solid relief efforts from Jared Moore and Tyler Sturges, who combined for four innings of no-hit ball. Moore struck out two, while Sturges walked one and tied his career high with four fanned batters.
Kansas State lost for just the second time this season when out-hitting its opponent as the Cats tallied 10 base hits to Texas A&M’s seven.
Kansas State and Texas A&M continue their weekend conference series on Saturday with a 4:05 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. The game, which will be televised on Fox Sports Kansas City, serves as the second pregame tailgate of the season beginning 90 minutes prior to first pitch beyond the left-field wall.
To order tickets, fans can visit www.k-statesports.com/tickets or call (800) 221-CATS.