MALIBU, Calif. — Michael Wacha bounced back from his worst start of the season, with his best of the year and possibly his career. Wacha led Texas A&M to a 4-0 win over Pepperdine Friday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
After being roughed up for nine runs, eight earned, in 5 1/3 innings last Friday against Kansas State, Wacha rebounded by nearly throwing a perfect game. The 6-foot-6 junior took a perfect game into the eighth inning and finished with an eight-strikeout, two-hit shutout.
Wacha retired the first 21 hitters in order, but Tony Cooper became the first Pepperdine hitter to reach base when catcher Troy Stein overthrew first base on a dropped third strike.
One pitch later, the no-hitter was no more.
Freshman Aaron Brown grounded a ball that hit off Wacha’s glove and died before ever reaching the infield dirt — infield single. Three batters later, Austin Davidson singled past a diving Mikey Reynolds at shortstop. But with the bases loaded, Wacha popped up pinch hitter Matt Forgatch to end the inning and maintain the shutout.
For the first five innings, Pepperdine starter Jon Moscot matched Wacha pitch for pitch with his only blemish being a second inning walk. However, the Aggies got to Moscot in the sixth inning.
Blake Allemand stroked a leadoff single to left field for the first hit of the game. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Krey Bratsen singled to left field for the first of three consecutive two-out hits.
With All-American Tyler Naquin at the plate, coach Rob Childress rolled the dice on a 1-0 count, calling a hit-and-run. Naquin executed perfectly hitting a line drive into the left-centerfield gap. Cooper cut the ball off before it reached the warning track, but Bratsen, one of the fastest players in the country, beat the relay throw to score from first base. Jacob House doubled home Naquin to give Texas A&M an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
Nyquin and Allemand both finished with a pair of hits. Allemand also made some nice defensive plays at third base, including a seventh inning diving catch of a Zach Vincej line drive that maintained the perfection at the time.
The two teams return to Eddy D. Stadium tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. (The series finale was moved up due to the possibility of inclement weather on Sunday.)
Check out the full photo gallery from the Pepperdine/Texas A&M Friday afternoon matchup below: