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First day of Astros Classic ends with Cougars win

HOUSTON -- The Houston Cougars almost gave this one away. After a Cougars fielding error loaded the bases for Texas A&M in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs in a one-run game, Chase Wellbrock struck out Troy Stein swinging to end the game.

Wellbrock's strikeout on a slider preserved a 7-6 Houston victory in the third and final game on Friday, the first of three days of the Astros Foundation College Classic.

"I was nervous but I also was confident," said Wellbrock, who allowed only one run in four innings in earning the save. "I'm glad about how we competed tonight."

The Cougars (7-2) erupted for a five-run fifth inning to take a three-run lead, but the Aggies (7-4) didn't give up. Jonathan Moroney, who along with Mikey Reynolds had three hits each among the Aggies' 12 hits, homered in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to two runs.

In the fifth, Frankie Ratcliff homered for the last of his three hits in Houston's 12-hit attack. Kyle Kirk and Kyle Survance both hit a two-run single in the inning.

But the game wasn't decided until the last of the ninth. With two outs, the last three Texas A&M batters had two strikes on them, with Moroney walking and Mitchell Nau reaching first on third baseman Jonathan Davis' error. But then Wellbrock struck out Stein, making reliever Daniel Smith (1-0) the winner. Texas A&M starter Kyle Martin (0-2) took the loss.

"You never felt like this game was over with," said Houston coach Todd Whitting. "Wellbrock, what can you say? He's tough as nails. He kept pounding the zone and forced them to get the action going."

Richard Dean is a contributor to
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