HOUSTON — After using five pitchers in a wild extra-innings victory against Rice earlier Sunday, Texas A&M needed its starter to go deep into the game against Texas as the Aggies faced elimination for the second time Sunday.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Stubblefield did just that, striking out nine batters and throwing 134 pitches in a complete-game 3-2 victory.
The Aggies’ victory sets up a showdown for the Houston regional championship Monday night. The winner will play LSU or Houston in a super regional later this week.
Texas began the day beating Rice 3-2 in extra innings of a game that started late Saturday night, was delayed three hours by rain and ended at 1:12 a.m. Sunday.
But the next two contests belonged to the Aggies, who got a complete-game gem from Stubblefield in the nightcap.
Stubblefield kept the Longhorns in check, allowing just four hits over nine strong innings.
“I was running on straight adrenaline,” Stubblefield said. “ ‘Tired’ wasn’t in the vocabulary.”
After trailing 1-0 and 2-1 early, the Aggies took the lead for good in the fifth inning on a Nick Banks RBI single to score Ryne Birk from third base.
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the Aggies’ 9-8 10-inning win over Rice four hours earlier, when A&M came from down six runs to stay alive.
Against Texas, it was more about small ball and the pitching of Stubblefield.
Stubbelfield struck out the first two UT batters he faced and allowed just one extra-base hit in the game.
“He never allowed me to take him out of the game,” A&M coach Rob Childress said.
Seven different Aggies had hits — all singles — against Texas. Krey Bratsen led the way with two singles.
The Longhorns were led by Carter and Johnson, who each had a hit and RBI. Three errors did not help their cause.
UT No. 9 hitter Ben Johnson had that hit, a double to right-center field to score C.J. Hinojosa to give the Longhorns a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
A&M tied the game in the bottom of the second when Patrick McLendon singled in Logan Nottebrok from second base with two outs. McLendon was thrown out at home two batters later for the third out in the inning, leaving the score knotted at 1.
UT took the lead back in the third inning when Madison Carter singled home Mark Payton, who had singled and stole second.
A&M tied it back up in the fourth when a UT throwing error brought home Troy Stein to make it 2-2. That was the end of the day for Longhorns starter Lukas Schiraldi.
Left-hander Travis Duke came in and struck out Krey Bratsen and Blake Allemand to end the inning with two Aggies on base.
The Aggies took the lead in the fifth inning for good, however, on Banks’ RBI single.
“We came here to win the tournament,” Childress said. “It was a good day for us, but we need to finish. Nobody is going to remember second place in this regional.”
The Houston regional set a Reckling Park record for attendance. Through six games, the regional drew 30,076 fans (5,013 per game).
The seventh and final game of the regional is set to be played at 6 p.m. Monday between the two Texas rivals. Both coaches said their starting pitcher is to be decided.