“For it’s one… two… three strikes you’re out, at the old ball game!”
But what if you can’t make it to that third strike?
Stephen F. Austin pitchers found out Tuesday what it’s like to have batters on the ropes, only to see them escape, as unbeaten Texas A&M used several two-strike hits to win its fourth straight game 6-0.
The Aggies moved to 4-0 on the strength of a 3-run 7th-inning rally keyed by a number of two-strike success stories, highlighted by a Ryan Birk home run. Nick Banks went 4-for-4 for the winners, whose resiliency at the plate was appreciated by Coach Rob Childress.
“We had some amazing two-strike at-bats in the seventh inning that allowed us to extend the lead,” Childress said. “J.B. (Moss) had a two-strike walk, and then Ryan hits the home run with two strikes. Nick drives in the third run of that inning with two strikes. Those guys did a great job, not just in that inning, but all night long with two strikes.”
Birk was 3-for-5, scored 3 times, and added a double to his 2-run bomb to pace the Aggie offense. Trevor Podsednik had a double and a walk for Stephen F. Austin, which encountered trouble throughout the contest as Texas A&M freshman starter Turner Larkins tossed 5.1 innings of scoreless ball and recorded 9 of the 16 strikeouts that Aggie hurlers collected in the shutout.
Texas A&M was one of seven teams that remained unbeaten in Tuesday’s college play. Six other squads suffered their first defeats of the young season. The highlights included…
UCLA (4-0) 7, Cal State-Northridge (4-1) 3: Darrell Miller Jr. and Sean Bouchard slammed 2-run homers in the 8th inning to keep the Bruins unbeaten and hand CSUN its first loss. Chris Keck added a solo shot for UCLA and Ty Moore, who has had at least 2 hits in all 4 games and boasts a .529 average, went 3-for-5. Yusuke Akitoshi was 3-for-4 for CSUN.
Southern Cal (4-0) 6, Cal State-Fullerton (1-3) 4: The Trojans remained undefeated as David Oppenheim clubbed a solo homer and Garrett Stubbs went 2-for-5 with a double and 3 RBIs. Dustin Vaught was 3-for-4 and scored twice for CSUF.
Nevada (4-0) 8, Texas Tech (4-1) 4: Clinging to a 4-3 lead in the 6th, the Wolf Pack pulled away when Trenton Brooks hammered a grand slam. Brooks scored 3 runs himself in the win, which also featured Kewby Meyer going 3-for-4 with a run. Texas Tech received homers from Quinn Carpenter and Stephen Smith, but took its first loss after 4 victories.
TCU (4-0) 4, Texas-Arlington (1-3) 1: Starter Mitchell Traver tossed 6 scoreless frames with 5 strikeouts and received 2 RBIs each from Derek Odell and Evan Skoug as the Horned Frogs made it 4 in a row. Cody Jones was 3-for-4 and scored twice for TCU. UTA received 2 hits apiece from Travis Sibley and Levi Scott.
Dallas Baptist (4-0) 9, Baylor (3-1) 6: Nash Knight and Drew Turbin each knocked in a pair of runs as Dallas Baptist surprised the previously unbeaten Bears. Hayden Ross led Baylor with 2 RBIs on a 2-for-4 line.
South Alabama (4-0) 7, Auburn (2-2) 4: Auburn scored 4 times in the opening 2 innings, but Jaguar reliever Austin Bembnowski entered the contest with no one out in the Tiger 2nd and went the rest of the way, scattering 3 hits, fanning 6, and keeping Auburn off the board over his 8 innings of work. Jared Barnes (2-for-3, s sac fly, and 3 RBIs) and Adam Ballew (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) provided most of the South Alabama offense. Anfernee Grier was 3-for-4 with a walk for the Tigers, who also received a 2-run double from Bo Decker.
Georgia Tech (3-1) 7, Georgia Southern (3-1) 4: Trailing 4-1 in the 7th, Kel Johnson belted a grand slam to push Tech ahead and set the stage for Wade Bailey‘s 2-run double in the 8th. Bailey finished 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs for the Ramblin’ Wreck, while GSU was led by Spencer Duffie, who was 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
Cal Poly (1-3) 7, Fresno State (3-1) 6: FSU, which won all 3 of its opening weekend contests with late-game rallies, almost did it again Tuesday when it scored all 6 of its runs in the final 2 frames, but Cal Poly reliever Danny Zandona got the final strikeout with Fresno runners on 1st and 2nd. Jordan Ellis, Peter Van Gansen (2 doubles), and Jake Lesinski all had 3 hits for Cal Poly, and Brian Mundell added 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Brody Russell and Joe Prior each drove in 2 runs for Fresno.
Texas (3-2) 14, Texas-San Antonio (2-2) 2: Tuesday’s offensive star was the Longhorns’ Tres Barrera, who singled in a run in the 1st, doubled home another in the 3rd, and then keyed a 7-run uprising in the 8th with a 3-run homer and another RBI single. Ben Johnson was 3-for-6 with 3 RBIs for the winners, while Skyler Valentine paced UTSA with 2 hits and 2 RBIs.
South Carolina (3-1) 5, Furman (1-3) 2: Elliott Caldwell ripped a 3-run triple in the 3rd as part of his 4-for-4 day as the Gamecocks prevailed over their in-state rival. Caldwell also had 2 doubles and a stolen base, and reliever Clarke Schmidt earned the win with 4.2 strong scoreless innings. Sky Overton paced Furman by going 2-for-4 with 4 stolen bases, scoring both Paladin runs.
Rice (3-2) 5, Houston Baptist (3-1) 2: The Owls scored 3 times in the 8th, the first two on a home run by John Clay Reeves, to break a 2-2 deadlock and post the victory. Hunter Kopycinski added a run-scoring single in the 8th for Rice, which received strong relief pitching from Glenn Otto (4.1 IP) and Matt Ditman (1.1 IP and the win). Sam Wiggins crashed a solo homer and Josh Martinez went 3-for-3 in the losing cause of HBU.
Long Beach State (3-1) 3, Pepperdine (1-3) 2: LBSU starter Ryan Cruz was the story in this one, hurling 5 innings of 1-hit, scoreless ball with 9 punchouts.