April 15, 2011
WACO, Texas - Baylor was held scoreless by John Stilson through the first eight innings and the Bears fell 5-1 in the series opener of the "Battle of the Brazos" against No. 5 Texas A&M on Friday night at Baylor Ballpark.
Baylor (19-16, 5-8 Big 12) got a pinch-hit RBI single from Wes Mercurio in the ninth to avoid being shut out in the Big 12 home game for the first time since April 18, 1998.
Texas A&M (25-9, 10-3 Big 12) starter Stilson (3-1) allowed five hits, walked four and struck out seven in 8.0 shutout innings to get the win. He threw 69 of his 120 pitches for strikes and stranded six Baylor baserunners.
"He pitched up to his numbers, maybe a little shaky command-wise at certain points in the game," head coach Steve Smith said. "He gave us some opportunities with walks and stuff like that."
Baylor starting pitcher Josh Turley (2-2) took the loss after allowing five runs - four of which were earned - on nine hits in 7.0 innings. The four earned runs allowed by Turley were a career high in 37 appearances.
The Aggies broke a scoreless tie in the third when Adam Smith poked a double just inside the first-base bag. Smith came around to score after an error on Kevin Gonzalez's bunt single.
Turley got some help from his defense when Brooks Pinckard threw out Gonzalez at the plate on Krey Bratsen's two-out single, but the Bears missed an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom half.
After two-out singles from Max Muncy and Josh Ludy, Cal Towey drew a walk to load the bases. Dan Evatt hit a slow grounder to third on a 3-2 pitch and he was thrown out by Smith on a close play at first to end the threat. That would be the last time a Baylor baserunner reached third base with Stilson in the game.
"(Evatt) put a breaking ball in play that, a lot of times, is going to turn into a swinging bunt that we score a run and keep the inning going," Smith said. "(Adam Smith) makes a really nice play on it at third base and makes a really nice throw. They just made plays tonight, both with the bat and with the glove. We didn't do anything crazy or bad. We just didn't make enough plays to stay with them. The game decided they would win tonight."
Texas A&M took advantage of an error to score an unearned run in the fourth and extended its lead to 4-0 when Adam Wood hit a RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Ludy went 2-for-4 and Towey went 1-for-2 with a run and two walks. Wood led Texas A&M at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Crayton Bare and Kolt Browder each worked a scoreless inning of relief for the Bears, but Stilson faced only one batter over the minimum after the third inning before handing the ball to Nick Fleece to start the ninth.
Fleece allowed an infield single to Towey and a RBI single to Mercurio, but he struck out the side to give the Aggies the win.
The final two games of the series will be played at Olsen Field in College Station, Texas. Saturday's first pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and Sunday's finale is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.