May 11, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A four-run fourth inning proved to be the difference as seventh-ranked Texas A&M defeated San Diego State, 4-1, in the opener of their three-game series Friday evening at Blue Bell Park in College Station, Texas. With the victory the Aggies improved to 35-14 while the Aztecs saw their record fall to 22-28.
SDSU sophomore right-hander Justin Hepner tossed a complete game, the Aztecs' first of the season, but the offense was unable to solve Aggie hurler Michael Wacha, who came into the contest undefeated on the season.
Hepner retired the seven of the first eight batters he faced before walking Scott Arthur with one out in the fourth. Mikey Reynolds then doubled down the left field line to give Texas A&M a 1-0 lead. Tyler Naquin followed that hit with a double to right field to put runners at second and third.
After a strikeout, Jacob House's line drive to went off the glove of a leapingJomel Torres for fdouble down the right field line, allowing both runners to score. An ensuing double by Troy Stein brought home House to make it a 4-0 contest with three of the runs in the inning being unearned.
Those runs would mean that Hepner (3-2) would eventually be tagged with the loss after tossing eight innings and allowing the four runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Wacha, meanwhile, retired the first 12 men he faced in the contest before freshman Ryan Muno opened the top of the fifth with a single up the middle. Seby Zavala's single one out later put two men on with one out, but the Aztecs were unable to capitalize.
San Diego State scored its run in the top of the eight when Torres led off with a double to right center, advanced to third on a ground out to shortstop by Jake Romanski and came home on an RBI ground out to second off the bat of Matt Muñoz to make it a 4-1 game.
Wacha, who was credited with the win to move to 8-0 on the season, would go 8.1 innings surrendering the one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. In the ninth he gave up back-to-back singles to Tim Zier and Chris Wilson to open the inning. Zier's single allowed him to extend his current hitting streak to 12 consecutive games.
After a strikeout, Wacha was lifted in favor of reliever Estevan Uriegas, who struck of Spencer Thornton before giving way to closer Kyle Martin. Martin induced Muñoz to ground out to first base for the final out and in the process picked up his fourth save of the season.
The Aztec and Aggies will continue their weekend series on Saturday with a contest scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. (CT) start.