COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas couldn't touch Texas A&M pitcher Michael Wacha.
Then something happened.
“They changed pitchers,” Longhorns coach Augie Garrido said.
That led to No. 20 Texas almost taking out the No. 9 Aggies. Down 6-0 in the top of the ninth, Texas came back with a furious five-run rally before being stopped on Jonathan Walsh's ground out to second. The 6-5 loss in front of a record 6,944 fans at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park dropped Texas to 24-15, 11-5. For Texas A&M (30-12, 10-6) the win was the first against Texas in College Station in 10 tries.
“Our survival instinct clicked in,” Garrido said of the final frame.
But all the damage necessary had been done. And while Wacha (6-0) did a lot of the damage, Texas self-inflicted a few wounds of its own. The Longhorns had three errors, allowed four unearned runs, allowed four runs with two outs and suffered two wild pitches.
“We didn't stay together as a team,” Jordan Etier said.
It was Etier who has had a hard time keeping it together. The shortstop has had five errors in the past two games.
“Our defense is not clicking,” Garrido said.
Neither were the bats against Wacha.
“That's the sixth or seventh first round pitcher we have faced this year,” Garrido said. “And he was the best of the seven.”
Added Etier: “We couldn't get him off his rhythm.”
The worry for Texas A&M coach Rob Childress is that Texas might have found its rhythm in the ninth.
“You want them leaving here dejected and they're not,” he said.
Texas was able to lifts its collective head slightly after stringing together five hits and drawing two walks in the ninth. That rally was in stark contrast to what happened during the first eight innings.
With Wacha on the mound, Texas was only able to produce four hits and fanned nine times. Texas stranded six runners against Wacha, including Mark Payton after he took the first pitch of the game to the wall for a double.
Texas A&M took little time in grabbing the lead with two in the bottom of the first off Texas starter Nathan Thornhill (4-4). Both runs were unearned, as were the next two given up by Texas in the third.
“The catching position didn't function. The middle of the infield didn't function,” Garrido said. “It's a big problem.”
Texas doesn’t have that much time to figure out the problem as the Aggies will come to Disch Falk-Field for a 2:30 p.m. game Saturday.