Loss to KU Ends Aggies’ Big 12 Tournament Run
OKLAHOMA CITY - The sixth-ranked Texas A&M baseball team's run at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship came to an end Friday night as the Aggies fell to Kansas 5-3 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
"Obviously, it's a disappointing loss to say the least," Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. "Our goal was to win this tournament, and we're going home a lot earlier than we anticipated. I thought Ross Stripling was very good, and he had to battle hard. We have to give Kansas credit. They got big hits when it mattered. We had them wobbling a couple times, but they didn't fall down."
The Aggies (42-16) will now wait to find out their postseason fate and destination when the NCAA announces regional host sites on Sunday afternoon before the entire NCAA Tournament field is revealed at 11 a.m. on Monday during a special that will be televised on ESPNU.
Friday night's headlines were stolen by Kansas starter Thomas Taylor (5-7), who tossed his first career complete game by holding the Aggies to just three runs on seven hits while throwing well over 150 pitches.
Texas A&M starter Ross Stripling (10-3) took the loss despite throwing his team-leading fifth complete game, along the way allowing five runs during eight innings of work.
The Aggies drew first blood in the contest, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first on a two-run double by senior first baseman Jacob House. The Mansfield, Texas, native leads the Aggies with 55 RBI and 19 multi-RBI games this season.
KU center fielder Dakota Smith tied the game at 2-2 during the home half of the second, as he connected on his second home run of the season, a two-run shot that landed in the Kansas bullpen beyond the left field wall.
Junior right fielder Tyler Naquin, who stole a career high three bases Friday night, enjoyed a nice three-game stretch at the tournament during which the Spring, Texas, native hit .583 (7-for-12) and scored six runs.
The Jayhawks (24-33) took their first lead of the night during the bottom of the fourth as second baseman Jordan Dreiling made it 4-2 KU with a two-run triple down the left field line.
Senior third baseman Matt Juengel cut the lead down to 4-3 with a two-out RBI single to left during the top of the fifth, but the Jayhawks quickly regained their two-run advantage with a run in the home half of the inning.The double play ball foiled a pair of late inning Aggie rallies as Texas A&M was able to get a pair of runners on base with less than two outs in both the eighth and ninth innings only to see the Jayhawk defense turn two to end each frame.