Texas A&M falls to South Carolina after squandering large early lead

OMAHA, Neb. — Michael Roth pitched into the eighth inning without allowing an earned run for South Carolina and Scott Wingo went 4-for-4, including a walk-off single to beat Texas A&M 5-4 Sunday in the College World Series.

The Aggies began the game on fire by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Naquin reached first safely on a throwing error to lead off and scored three batters later on a single from Jacob House. Brandon Wood came to bat later in the inning with bases loaded and slapped a triple that scored three runs to put the Aggies up four after half a frame.

“The game couldn’t have started any better for us — we scored four runs and were on a roll,” said Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress. “Then the nerves got to us and we made some mistakes.”

Texas A&M’s defense did not play any better than South Carolina’s in the bottom of the inning as Aggie starter Ross Stripling allowed the first three Gamecocks to reach base. Stripling then balked to score a runner, and second baseman Andrew Collazo overthrew first base, allowing two more scoring runs. The Gamecocks added another run on an infield single from Peter Mooney to tie the game.

“I dealt with my nerves in the first inning,” Stripling said. “It took me until the second or third to settle down. They’re a good hitting team and took four runs from us right after we took four from them.”

Stripling did settle down after the first and only surrendered four more hits in his eight innings. The problem for the Aggies was that South Carolina starter Michael Roth was just as good.

“Hats off to him,” Stripling said of Roth. “Too bad I came out on the wrong side of the stick, but it happens when you’re going against somebody as good as him.”

Kyle Martin relieved Stripling to begin the ninth inning but surrendered a leadoff double to Robert Beary and was pulled for Nick Fleece. Fleece then allowed a single and issued a walk, which loaded the bases for Wingo to slap a single to right field and end the game.

The Aggies will play California in the loser’s bracket on Tuesday, while South Carolina faces Virginia later that evening.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve lost a game,” Childress said. “Our guys have been very resilient and they know there’s still tomorrow. I know we’ll get Cal’s best, and I can tell you Cal’s going to get our best.”