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Saturday - May 17, 2008

Game 51: Texas A&M at Texas

Texas beat the Aggies 5-2 this evening! Here's the final line:

[Final line]

The line-ups:

Texas A&M Texas
Kyle Colligan, cf
Blake Stouffer, 2b
Dane Carter, 3b
Jose Duran, ss
Luke Anders, 1b
Darby Brown, dh
Brian Ruggiano, rf
Brodie Greene, lf
Kevin Gonzalez, c
Brooks Raley, p
Michael Torres, dh
Travis Tucker, 2b
Jordan Danks, cf
Preston Clark, 3b
Kyle Russell, rf
Brandon Belt, 1b
Kevin Keyes, lf
Cameron Rupp, c
David Hernandez, ss
Chance Ruffin, p

Chance Ruffin started for the Horns and got the win. He threw 7+ innings (he faced one batter in the 8th) and gave up one run on 6 hits (4 singles and 2 doubles) with 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, and a wild pitch. By my count, he threw 118 pitches. Brandon Belt threw the final two innings and gave up one run on 3 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts.

Those two walks that Chance gave up? The first and last batters he faced. Heh. There were a couple of great defensive plays. In the 1st, with a batter at 1b and 1 out, Brandon Belt fielded a hard ground ball that he threw to 2b for the first out and then got back to 1b in time to get a throw back to complete the first double play of the day for the Horns. In the 6th, with a batter at 1b, Travis Tucker (at 2b) ranged to his right and just got to a ball that was headed into cf. He tossed it to David Hernandez who stepped on the 2b bag and threw to 1b in time to complete the 2nd double play of the day for the Horns. Great effort by Travis on that play. All in all, the defense was solid and effective. It was just what we've been waiting for all season long.

The Aggies did score two runs, though. They tied things up in the 4th: with one out, Stouffer hit a double off the wall in right and then scored two batters later when Duran hit a double down the lf line. Duran was stranded at 2b. In the 9th, things got a little more interesting than we really wanted. The first two batters of the inning quickly grounded out to 2b. The next (Green) singled just past Preston Clark (at 1b by this point) and Travis Tucker into shallow rf. Green stole 2b on the first pitch to Gonzalez (complete defensive indifference so I'm not sure the stolen base should really count!...actually, I just checked the official page and it did not count as a stolen base). Gonzalez then hit a bloop single into lf, scoring Green. Feltner went to 1b to pinch-run for Gonzalez. Colligan then singled through the left side, putting runners at 1b and 2b and bringing the tying run to the plate. Ack! Stouffer's at-bat went like so: called strike, ball, called strike, ball, foul ball, swinging strike! Yes! Texas wins.

On the offensive side of things, most of the damage came from the 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9 batters. Texas scored the first run of the game in the 3rd: Cameron Rupp led the bottom of the 3rd off with a double of the top of the wall in rf. We all thought it should've been scored a home run because it hit the top of the wall (on the yellow stripe!) and bounced back into the field of play. But, it was ruled a double. David Hernandez, though, followed up with a slow bouncer up the middle that scored Cameron. David moved to 2b on the throw home. Michael Torres then bunted successfully toward 3b to put runners at the corners. Sadly, Travis Tucker hit a come-backer to the pitcher who looked David back to 3b before throwing to 2b to start a 1-6-3 double play. Jordan Danks then struck out.

The Horns took the lead again in the 5th. David Hernandez singled through the left side. Michael Torres hit a bunt a bit too hard at the pitcher and reached on a 1-6 fielder's choice. After a couple of pitches to Travis Tucker, Michael was caught way off 1b and thrown out (2-6-3). So, with 2 out, Travis Tucker hit a single to deep ss to get aboard. Jordan Danks then hit a triple to the cf/rf gap to score Travis. Preston Clark was hit by a pitch, putting runners at the corners. Sadly, Kyle Russell flew out to rf to end the inning.

The Horns scored 3 in the 7th to go ahead for good. With one out, Michael Torres was hit by a pitch. Travis Tucker then singled through the left side to put runners at 1b and 2b. And, Jordan Danks hit another triple to the same spot he'd hit in the 5th to score Michael and Travis. Preston Clark then hit a sac fly to deep rf to score Jordan. And, Kyle Russell flew out to cf for the final out of the inning.

I almost didn't take my camera to the game today since it was an evening game. It gets awfully dark up in the stands and I have to keep bumping the ISO up and shutter speed down as the game goes along, making it difficult to get decent photos. But, at the last moment, I decided to take my camera with me, thinking I could at least take some decent photos early. I think things went fairly well. And, so...

First, a couple of shots showing some of the after-effects of the storm that blew through town about midnight on Wednesday:

[Broken tree limbs]

[Broken tree limbs]

Those were taken in the parking lot beyond the lf fence.

The Lone Star Showdown trophy was on display under the stands:


This is the 4th year of the showdown. Points are awarded for head-to-head match-ups between the teams in intercollegiate sports. Texas won the first three trophies. Each year, baseball is the final sport in the contest. And, the Horns are trailing by one point this year. If they win the series, the showdown ends in a tie. If they Horns lose the series, the Aggies win the showdown. The win tonight was a good start, eh?

A very cute 9-year-old (I did not catch his name) threw out the first pitch:

[First pitch]

'Twas the last home game of the season, so that meant it was Senior Day. The only senior listed on the roster is Todd Gilfillan. But, Todd and Drew Bishop were both honored:

[Todd Gilfillan and Drew Bishop]

Why was Drew Bishop out there? 'Turns out he'll be graduating in December so he won't be here next spring. Which makes him a senior. Drew also got an academic achievement award of some sort from State Farm. Good for him! I'd also been wondering why I hadn't seen Todd suited up during recent games. I'm guessing that sling might explain things, eh?

It was 75 °F and mostly overcast without much of a breeze at the start of the game:

[Prevailing conditions]

Chance Ruffin on the mound:

[Chance Ruffin]

Michael Torres walked to start the 1st for the Horns and then the Aggie pitcher threw to 1b (trying to keep Michael close) about 400 times. Or so it seemed. This was one of those times:

[Michael Torres]

Clay Van Hook graduated today. Then, he and his shadow coached 1b:

[Clay Van Hook]

Here's Cameron Rupp scoring the first run of the game:

[Cameron Rupp]

I had Travis Tucker in my cross-hairs as he was rounding 3b to score the 2nd run of the game. Sadly, Ellie decided to jump up and ruin my photo:

[Not Travis Tucker]

Thanks a lot, Ellie!

Here's Jordan Danks at 3b after his first triple of the game (the one that scored Travis Tucker in the muffed shot above):

[Jordan Danks]

Preston Clark, flinching after getting hit by a pitch in the 5th (see the ball ricocheting off to the right?):

[Preston Clark]

It wasn't a fast ball this time so he wasn't hit nearly as hard as he was in the first game of the Alabama A&M doubleheader. He was hit in very nearly the same spot, though, and he just trotted down to 1b as if nothing had happened.

Including an "artsy" photo just for fun:

[Texas flag]

Pretty sky, eh? 'Took that photo a little after 8 o'clock in the bottom of the 7th.

Travis Tucker singled in the 7th. Here's the tail-end of the swing when he hit said single:

[Travis Tucker]

Chance Ruffin gets props as he exits the game in the 8th:

[Chance Ruffin]

It's getting too dark to take decent photos. I warned you!

Brandon Belt on the mound:

[Brandon Belt]

'Looks like the TV folks (Fox College Sports) had a chat with Jordan Danks after the game:

[Jordan Danks]

'Got my fingers crossed (and, boy, does that make it hard to type!...ha ha) that the guys can pull off a sweep this weekend. Wouldn't that be sweet? Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 1:45 PM