Texas A&M second baseman Scott Arthur went 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs, while Tyler Naquin collected four hits as the sixth-ranked Aggies downed Kansas, 10-4, in the first round of the Big 12 Baseball Championship on Wednesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Kansas sophomore pitcher Frank Duncan set a pair of milestones in defeat. The righty recorded eight strikeouts, which tied for the most by a Kansas pitcher in a Big 12 tournament game, matching Kodiak Quick’s total in a 2005 game against Baylor. Duncan also reached 100 strikeouts for the season, making him the fifth KU pitcher to collect 100-plus K’s and the first since 2005.
And he dominated at times, retiring 11 straight — including six straight strikeouts — after surrendering an RBI single in the first.
But A&M scored four runs in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull away.
“With our team being so young it has been a struggle this year obviously, but for us to keep grinding and to even get here for the Big 12 Championship was a step in the right direction and a big step for the guys on our team since we are so young,” said Duncan, who was touched for a season-high seven runs off 10 hits over 52⁄3 innings.
The Jayhawks rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, when freshmen outfielders Dakota Smith and Michael Suiter collected RBI hits, while Tucker Tharp added a sacrifice fly. Tharp, Suiter and second baseman Jordan Dreiling each collected two hits, while four players collected RBIs.
Kansas (22-33) will face Texas at 12:30 p.m. today in an elimination game.
UT fell to Missouri, 5-0, on Wednesday.
In other first-round Big 12 games Wednesday, Baylor routed Kansas State, 11-1, and Oklahoma slipped past rival Oklahoma State, 1-0.