Things may finally be looking up at the Disch.
“I think that if you had seen this team play earlier in the season, you’d be pretty pleased,” head coach Augie Garrido said.
A team that many thought wouldn’t scrape 30 wins has won eight of its last ten and, despite leading the conference with 74 errors on the season, has only notched four errors in its last seven contests.
“I kept saying that they had it in them and tonight it came out,” said Garrido.
The Horns struck first with a double and a two-base single in the third. Catcher Cameron Rupp logged the first hit of the game with a lead-off blast to right field that came within inches of ending up in the street. A follow-up by David Hernandez gave Rupp the go ahead to put the first run on the board. DH Michael Torres laid down a bunt to load the corners with no outs but Travis Tucker grounded in to a double-play and Jordan Danks was fanned to end the inning with Hernandez left on.
The Aggies answered with their own pair of doubles at the top of the fourth to knot things up at 1-1, but the Longhorns didn’t let it last long.
One inning later, Travis Tucker made his way around the bags on a single and a deep triple by Jordan Danks to once again put the Texas one run over A&M.
Another triple with two RBI compliments of Danks in the seventh put Texas up 4-1 until Danks rode home on a sac fly from third baseman Preston Clark and gave the Aggies a four-run disadvantage that would carry to the top of the ninth.
“You get two down in the count against Danks and you’re in a tough spot,” Texas A&M head Coach Rob Childress said.
The Ags’ last stand came with two outs in the ninth. Three consecutive singles from Brodie Greene, Kevin Gonzalez and Kyle Colligan closed the gap by one run with two men on. Unfortunately for the Aggies, Brandon Belt fanned the tying run at the plate to seal the deal.
“I’m disappointed we lost but am encouraged with the way we played,” said Childress. “I’m very proud of the way we played tonight. I don’t care about the wins and losses, I care about attitude and effort and I’m really pleased with that.”
Danks and Hernandez paced the Longhorn offense. Hernandez went 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI. Danks hit 2-for-4 with three RBI, one run and two doubles.
“At first I had two not-so-successful at-bats and saw some pitches I knew I should have gotten,” said Danks. “I knew I had to turn it around.”
Freshman Chance Ruffin (7-3) earned the win by going seven innings and giving up only one run. Ruffin has proven to be a consistent starter and Garrido’s go-to guy for opening a series.
“I feel pretty confident.” Ruffin said post game. “It’s pretty big and it’s pretty nice to have the confidence of the team behind me.”
Brandon Belt slid over from first to close out the final two innings and give up three hits and an earned run.
Aggie Brooks Raley (6-1) was saddled with the loss for giving up eighth hits and five earned runs over his eight innings.
“This was a game won by quality…this guarantees we’ll be considered for a lot of opportunities we didn’t think we would have,” said Garrido. “That clubhouse was like winning the championship in there.”
The Longhorns now move to College Station to finish up the series. Game two will give Texas the chance to extend the Aggies’ four-game losing streak at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Olsen Field.