STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State came within two outs of moving into second place in the Big 12 Conference standings, but the 22nd-ranked Cowboys couldn’t make it happen as they suffered a 5-2 loss to No. 6 Texas A&M in a 13-inning affair Thursday night at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Matt Juengel’s three-run home run in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Aggies to the win as OSU fell to 32-21 overall and into a third-place tie with Texas in the league standings with a 13-9 mark. The game marked the Cowboys’ first Big 12 loss at home this season, and they are now 24-5 at Reynolds Stadium on the year.
OSU took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning Thursday as ace Andrew Heaney dominated the visitors over the first eight frames, allowing just three hits and striking out 12, one shy of his career high.
But in the ninth, Juengel, who was 3-for-6 in the game, led off with a single. Heaney retired Juengel when the next hitter, Jacob House, reached on fielder’s choice, but Troy Stein ended the shutout bid with an RBI double that made the score 2-1.
That brought up Mitchell Nau, who delivered a double of his own to bring home the tying run and end Heaney’s night on the mound.
With TAMU (39-14, 14-8) still having a man on second and just one out, Blake Barnes came out of the OSU bullpen and struck out the next two Aggies to escape further damage.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cowboys got back-to-back singles to open the frame but then failed to get a sacrifice bunt down. However, Gage Green reached on a fielder’s choice to put OSU runners on first and third, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out.
That would be a theme for the Cowboys on the night as they left 14 runners stranded in the game, including three in the 11th inning and one in the 12th.
In the decisive 13th, Scott Arthur got things started with a bunt single, and Tyler Naquin followed with a single of his own before Juengel stepped to the plate and delivered his second homer of the season over the wall in left field.
Barnes, who had allowed only three runs in 11 Big 12 appearances entering the game, suffered the loss to fall to 5-4 on the season. He worked the final 4.2 innings and struck out four.
In what lived up to a pitcher’s duel between two of the nation’s top pitchers, Heaney and Michael Wacha, the Cowboys’ ace outlasted the Aggies’ as Wacha went 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits. Just one of those runs was earned as Green blasted the first home run of his career in the third inning to give OSU a 1-0 advantage.
OSU’s second run came in the seventh when Green scored on an error by Juengel.
The two teams return to action Friday at 6:30 p.m. with OSU looking to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Aggies.