Austin Wood (4-3) gave up four hits and walked three batters while also striking out three. Saturday’s win gives the Longhorns (33-19, 14-12) a 2-0 series advantage over the Aggies (42-13, 19-7) and extends A&M’s losing streak to five games.
“I really have to give credit to my teammates,” Wood said. “I got ground outs and pop outs when I really needed.”
DH Michael Torres hit a lead off single to third base and used a throwing error followed by a sac bunt and grounder to advance around the bags and give the Horns an early one-run lead in the top of the first.
“Scoring that first run really set us up…I think it really gave us a good attitude to start off,” said Torres.
Wood retired the first two batters he faced before giving up two free trips to the bags and a triple down the right field line that put the Ags up one run on the Horns at the bottom of the first. A&M held on to its lead until Torres blasted a full count pitch to the centerfield wall and notched a double. Travis Tucker followed with a single up the middle that gave Torres his second run of the game and put the Horns back neck and neck with the Aggies.
Right fielder Kyle Russell broke things up in the sixth with his fourteenth homer of the season. With Tucker on second after drawing a lead-off walk and advancing on a sac bunt, Russell was two down in the count before a shot over the left field wall put the Horns up 4-2.
Overall, Russell went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run and leads the team in home runs and slugging percentage among frequent starters.
“I think the week of break we had was great,” Russell said, referring to a mandatory week-off the players were given to focus on finals. “It got us away for a while and made us focus more.”
Third baseman Preston Clark sent another ball out to the parking lot in the seventh to put a victory for the Aggies one run farther out of reach. Wood gave up only two hits in the final three innings to shut down A&M’s hopes of a rally.
“We haven’t played two games like this all year,” Torres said.
Barret Loux got the loss for Texas A&M. Loux (4-2) gave up eight hits and five runs, four earned, in six and two-thirds innings.
The Horns have now gone error-free in five of their last six match-ups despite going into the series with a conference-leading 74.
“If you don’t have defense, you don’t have pitching,” head Coach Augie Garrido said, pointing to drastically improving tempo and rhythm in the infield as the spark.
“It’s like an orchestra; (earlier in the season) we were playing different songs. Now we play the same song and we’re all playing it together.”
Now the Horns look to sweep the series with a victory in game three. With the way his team is playing lately, Coach Garrido isn’t ready to dampen post-season expectations.
“We have a responsibility to reach full potential and not just get into regionals. This team has it in them to be a championship team. Our goal right now is just to fulfill our responsibility.”
The Longhorns will next try to fulfill their responsibilities in Game Three at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. Once again, the action will take place at Olsen Field in College Station.