KU vs. Texas A&M box score ( .PDF )
For the third time in three days, the Kansas University baseball team delivered a series of stirring previews only to have the featured presentation draw mixed reviews.
In the end, however, KU’s early lead held up — yet again — and the Jayhawks panned No. 22 Texas A&M, 9-5, Thursday at Hoglund Ballpark.
“I’m sure skip could go without this drama,” outfielder Jimmy Waters said. “For some reason, that’s kind of the joke in the locker room right now; we can’t win a game without drama.”
With ace starter T.J. Walz cruising on the mound, KU scored three runs in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. The Jayhawks added three more in the seventh to open up a 7-1 cushion.
Waters (3-for-5, 4 RBIs) and Brian Heere (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) drove in all three runs in the fifth and each picked up a hit and scored a run in the seventh.
“Our hitters came through,” said Walz, who picked up the win and improved to 5-2. “That guy (Barret Loux) is an unbelievable pitcher. To do that against him is great.”
Kansas knocked Loux out of the game after six innings, but A&M returned the favor by chasing both Walz and reliever Colton Murray from the game in a four-run eighth of its own.
Not content with a two-run lead, the Jayhawks (18-9, 3-1 Big 12) opened the bottom of the eighth with a pair of singles that, in turn, bounced A&M reliever Nick Fleece from the contest. Heere followed with a bunt single, setting the table for Waters (RBI single) and Brett Lisher (sacrifice fly) to push KU’s lead to 9-5 heading into the ninth.
“That was huge,” Waters said. “Obviously, all the momentum was in their dugout.”
After getting out of the eighth on one pitch, KU closer Brett Bochy then picked up his fifth save of the season with an easy ninth.
“We wanted to save Bochy because, normally, your closer’s not going to go back-to-back-to-back nights,” said Walz, who struck out a season-high eight batters. “If we could’ve saved him for Friday and Saturday that would’ve been huge. But we’ll take it.”
With a hit in the eighth, Robby Price extended his hitting streak to 11 games. KU and Texas A&M resume the series at 6 tonight.