By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY – To the victor goes the spoils ... and the day off ... and, apparently, the movie tickets.
By virtue of its 4-1 victory over Kansas State in Thursday's final game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, second-seeded Texas A&M won't play Friday. The Aggies (40-18) are 2-0 in Division Two. They will play the winner of Friday's loser's bracket game between Oklahoma and Kansas State.
"It's a great situation to be in," Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. "That's what we came up here to do. I love the day off. That's something that's earned "
Texas A&M will get 90 minutes in the hitting cages at RedHawks Field. Childress said he'll probably take the team to see "The Hangover 2."
Michael Wacha left Kansas State with that hung over feeling with his pitching performance. He gave up a run in the first but went eight innings, allowing five hits, no walks and striking out seven while throwing 111 pitches.
"It was pretty simple: Michael Wacha pretty much dominated tonight," Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. "We would get a couple of doubles and need a two-out hit to score them and never got it done. He made pitches when he had to make pitches."
After taking a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first, the Wildcats needed a shut down inning in the top of the second from starter Matt Applegate. He recorded two outs before Kevin Gonzalez doubled, Brandon Wood singled and Kenny Jackson doubled to give the Aggies a 2-1 lead.
Texas A&M added a run in the third inning on a run-scoring single by Jacob House. Charlie Curl's hit and run single drove in the final run in the ninth. Four runs was more than adequate with Wacha dealing on the mound.
"After the third inning I got more comfortable throwing the curveball for first-pitch strikes," said Wacha, who is 7-3 this season. "Then I really started to establish a fastball inside later on and it just kept them off-balance."
Childress said that John Stilson, who was a last-minute scratch from his scheduled start Wednesday, is available to pitch. Ross Stripling will start Saturday.
The Aggies are defending champions in this event and were regular-season co-champions. With their pitching in great shape and needing just one more victory to reach Sunday's championship game, they figure to enjoy their day of rest.