In front of a sellout crowd at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, Texas and Texas A&M met in the postseason for the first time since 2014. The winner’s bracket showdown featured a gutsy performance by Nolan Kingham and a 15 hit outburst for the Texas offense, giving the Longhorns a 8-3 win over the Aggies.
Kingham, who said after the game he spent most of this week in bed fighting an illness, tossed 7 2/3 innings to earn his 8th win of the season. The right-hander allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 9 hits, striking out 8 and walking 1. Mitchell Kilkenny took the loss, lasting only 4 innings and allowing 5 runs on 7 hits.
At the plate, Texas received 3-hit performances from David Hamilton and Kody Clemens.
Texas jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the 1st thanks to the big bat of Kody Clemens. After David Hamilton opened the game with an infield single, Duke Ellis was hit by a pitch to put two on with nobody out. Clemens made the Aggies pay, smashing his 20th home run of the season over the RF wall.
A&M responded in the 3rd inning with a run of their own. Allonte Wingate began the frame with a walk and advanced to 2nd when a David Hamilton booted a potential double play grounder with 1 out. After a ground out advanced both runners into scoring position, Michael Helman dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line, scoring Wingate and cutting the Texas lead to 3-1.
D.J Petrinsky led off the top of the 4th with his 2nd home run of the regional, a solo shot to LF. Texas then put together a 2-out rally to stretch the lead out to 5-1. A pair of singles from David Hamilton and Duke Ellis, combined with a walk to Kody Clemens, loaded the bases. Zach Zubia worked a full count and was hit by the 3-2 pitch, forcing home Hamilton.
In the 5th, the Longhorns added to their lead off A&M reliever Dustin Saenz. DJ Petrinsky reached on an infield single with 1-out and quickly moved over to 3rd on a double by Tate Shaw. Petrinsky would then score on a sacrifice fly by Jake McKenzie. Masen Hibbeler followed with an RBI single to score Shaw, giving Texas a 7-1 cushion.
The two teams traded runs in the 6th, with Kody Clemens blasting his 2nd home run of the night and Braden Shewmake collecting a RBI single.
A&M would threaten again in the 8th, forcing Texas to go to the bullpen with 2 on and 2 out, but reliever Josh Sawyer got Allonte Wingate to ground out to Kody Clemens to end the inning.
Andy McGuire worked around a lead-off hit by pitch in the 9th to secure the win for Texas. The Longhorns will now play for the regional championship tomorrow night at 8 PM against the winner of the Indiana-Texas A&M elimination game, which will be played at 2 PM. If the Longhorns were to fall Sunday night, there would be a winner-take-all game Monday night to advance to the Super Regional.