Ides of March Not Kind to Titans; Fall to Aggies, 2-0
March 15, 2011
College Station, Tex. - Kenny Jackson's groundball to first in the bottom of the seventh inning went under Nick Ramirez's glove and brought home the only two runs of the ballgame as No. 21 Texas A&M upended No. 13 Cal State Fullerton, 2-0, in a non-conference midweek tilt at Olsen Stadium Tuesday night.
The Titans (8-7) committed 10 errors last weekend against Louisiana State, but the only one against the Aggies was a big one, leaving the Titans winless on their road trip in four tries. It is the first time since Apr. 27 to May 2, 2007, that the Titans have lost four games in a row. The Aggies, are now winners of five of their last six and improve to 13-4.
"We've kind of grown accustomed to finding a way to lose some tough ones, especially on this road trip. We have some work to do," said fourth-year Titan Head Coach Dave Serrano.
"Again, I tip my cap to our opposition, Texas A&M, I thought they were very efficient in many areas. I think their pitcher matched Jake [Floethe] pitch-for-pitch... they played a little bit better defense than we did, and they took advantage of the opportunies that we gave them."
Floethe was the hard-luck loser on Tuesday, dropping to 1-1 on the year. The junior worked 7 innings and allowed just 7 hits on the night, and just 4 of them before the seventh inning.
In the fateful seventh, Floethe surrendered consecutive base hits to A&M's Krey Bratsen, Tyler Naquin and a 2-strike bunt single to Matt Juengle to load the bases without an out. Floethe then got a pop out, and two groundouts that appeared to get him out of the inning, but the last one went under Ramirez's glove and into right field for an error to bring home Naquin and Juengle.
When asked about being so close to getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam, Serrano said, "We were close, but not close enough. That's kind of what we have created for ourselves over the last week, and we have got to find a way to fix it. Otherwise, we will continue to have these tough losses.
"I was happy with the way the team tried to come back, we did that a couple of times in Baton Rouge too. But we are creating our own messes and, right now, we aren't good enough to overcome our own deficiencies."
Aggie starter Ross Stripling (3-1) avenged his 6-run, 5-hit, 2/3 of an inning performance back in 2009 against the Titans with a gem on Tuesday night. The right-hander, who started the season as the team's primary closer was making just his second start of the year and worked 7, 3-hit innings, fanning 5 Titans for the win. All-American John Stilson, typically a starter, came on to get the final two outs with the Titans threatening in the top of the ninth for his first save of the year.
Floethe had faced just 1 over the minimum through 6 innings, helping himself with a pair of pick-offs and inducing an inning-ending double play in the first off the bat of Naquin.
Dylan Floro pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Titans recording a strikeout.
Fullerton mustered just 5 hits on the night, with 3 of them coming in the last 3 innings. The Titans had 2 runners on in the same inning in the first and in the ninth, but could not convert, getting shutout for the first time this season.
Richy Pedroza, the only Titan hitter with a significant hitting streak, saw his 10-game streak come to an end in College Station with an 0-for-4 evening.
Bratsen and Naquin had two hits each for the Aggies, who will travel to Norman, Oklahoma, this weekend to face the No. 3 Sooners. Fullerton will return home to face the University of Washington at home beginning Friday night.