Ninth-Inning Aggie Double Dooms K-State Saturday
April 2, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Texas A&M’s Jacob House smacked a RBI double to break a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth and send the fifth-ranked Aggies to a 4-3 victory over Kansas State Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the victory, Texas A&M improved to 22-5 overall and 7-1 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats, who dropped their fifth one-run ballgame in the last six losses, fell to 15-11 on the year and 1-7 in conference action.
K-State reliever Evan Marshall (2-3), who came on to get the final out of the eighth inning, jumped ahead of leadoff batter Matt Juengel in the ninth with a 1-2 count. Marshall then threw three-straight balls to walk the Aggie third baseman. Andrew Collazo pinch-ran for Juengel and scored all the way from first base when House hit the first pitch he saw from Marshall into deep right-center field to put A&M ahead 4-3.
Aggie closer Joaquin Hinojosa picked up his seventh save of the year, including his second of the series, as he retired the Cats in order in the bottom of the ninth.
“With Texas A&M’s pitching staff, three runs are hard to overcome,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We were able to overcome it, but we turn around and walk the leadoff guy in the ninth. That’s what’s beating us right now – it’s the little things like that you can’t do to be a winning ballclub.”
Kansas State trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Jake Brown hit a one-out single through the right side of the infield. After a ground out moved Brown to second, Texas A&M elected to intentionally walk Nick Martini to face Jason King. The third baseman came through as he doubled into left-center field to score Brown and move Martini to third.
Texas A&M went to the bullpen to bring in Estevan Uriegas (1-0), who forced Wade Hinkle to fly out to end the inning. Uriegas then worked around a two-out single in the eighth inning before turning the game over to Hinojosa in the ninth.
K-State out-hit Texas A&M for the second straight game, recording 10 hits in both contests against a pitching staff that has yielded 10 or more hits just four other times this season. But, the Wildcats have stranded 10 runners in scoring position in the series, including three at third base on Saturday.
“The kids are competing and playing hard,” Hill said. “We put 10 hits on the board. Some were at the right time but we didn’t have enough.”
After giving up a RBI double to Kenny Jackson and a two-run single to Charlie Curl in the second inning, Wildcat starter Matt Applegate settled down and kept K-State in the game. He retired the side in order in both the third and fourth innings, and was able to pitch around one-out hits the next three frames. The right-hander finished the day allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work.
“Applegate was outstanding today. He gave up the three runs, but after that he did what he had to do,” Hill said.
The No. 5 through 8 hitters in the K-State lineup – Mike Kindel, Jared King, Shane Conlon and Dan Klein – each went 2-for-4. Klein drove in a run in the third inning on a two-out single, while Jared King singled to left-center with two outs in the sixth to make the score 3-2.
Texas A&M also received two-hit games from Curl, Jackson and Tyler Naquin.
Martini’s intentional walk in the seventh inning allowed him to tie what is believed to be the longest streak of consecutive games reaching base safely in Division I history. The junior has reached base in 86 straight games dating back to the final game of his freshman year in 2009. He is tied with Elon’s Corey Harrilchak, who reached in 86 straight games from April 4, 2008, to May 21, 2009.
The Wildcats will try to salvage the final game of the series against No. 5 Texas A&M on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. To order tickets, fans can visit www.k-statesports.com/tickets, call (800) 221-CATS or visit the Tointon Family Stadium box office.