COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Sophomore Carson Middleton tossed five innings of shutout ball in his first career start and appearance at Texas A&M as the Aggies swept the series from McNeese State with an 8-4 win over the Cowboys before 2,857 Tuesday afternoon at Olsen Field.
Middleton (1-0), a transfer from McLennan College, allowed just three hits and fanned five while walking just one to pick up the victory.
“Carson Middleton was outstanding,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “In his first time on the mound in a game situation, I thought he responded really well. He pitched with a lot of confidence, really attacked the zone and wasn’t nervous, and that’s what we need.”
The strong starting pitching was backed by a potent Aggie offense that pounded out 11 hits, including three triples for the second consecutive game.
Two of the triples helped open the scoring in the A&M half of the second.
With one out, right fielder Brodie Greene laced the first pitch he saw into the right center field gap, then came home on an RBI single up the middle by center fielder Ben Feltner. After swiping second base, Feltner came home on a deep triple to center by shortstop Jose Duran.
Greene then drove in two runs with a one-out single in the third, extending the Aggie lead to 4-0.
A&M (4-2) would make the score 7-0 with three runs in the fourth to chase McNeese starter Tyler Davis. The runs came home on an RBI single by third baseman Dane Carter and a two-run double by second baseman Blake Stouffer.
The Cowboys (0-5) would put up three in the top of the sixth, with the big blow coming in the form of a two-out, two-run double by second baseman Nick Eubanks.
Darby Brown scored the Aggies’ final run in the seventh inning, which he led off with a triple off the top of the fence in center. He would score one out later on a balk. MSU would add a final two-out run in the ninth to close out the scoring.
“The disappointing thing was we weren’t able to finish the game off,” Childress said. “We shut it down after the fourth inning, and if we’re going to play championship-type baseball we have to maintain a high level for nine complete innings. We didn’t do that today.”
The final three pitchers out of the Texas A&M bullpen—Michael Heard, Kevin Cravey and Travis Starling—combined to allow one unearned run and fan four over the final 3 1/3 innings.
Davis (0-2), who prepped at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, suffered the loss. He lasted 3 1/3 and allowed eight hits and seven runs (six earned) while walking three and striking out two. Cowboy sophomore Todd Fontenot was strong in relief, allowing three hits and one run over 4 1/3 innings of action.
The Aggies continue their season-opening 20-game homestand this weekend by hosting the 16th Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic. Texas A&M welcomes in defending SEC West champion Arkansas, reigning Big Ten Tourney champ Ohio State and WAC preseason runner-up pick Louisiana Tech for the three-day, round-robin event.
“We always try to put together a tournament with a regional-type flair,” Childress said. “And from that standpoint, this is better than any regional you could play in.”
The tournament gets underway on Friday, when Arkansas faces Louisiana Tech at 12:30 p.m. and the Aggies meet Ohio State at 6:30 p.m. A&M’s games with Arkansas on Saturday (6:30 p.m.) and Louisiana Tech on Sunday (3 p.m.) will be broadcast by COX Sports Television, as will both of the Hogs’ other games (on Friday and Sunday). Check local listings for station and airtime nearest you.
Tickets for all games are available online at aggieathletics.com.
POSTGAME NOTES—Junior Kyle Colligan started his 100th game as an Aggie…He has now played in 103 games for the maroon and white...Texas A&M banged out three triples for the second consecutive game…Before last night, the last time an Aggie team had three triples in one game was April 11, 1999 in a 7-2 win over Kansas State in St. Joseph, Missouri, or 519 games ago…For the season, 22 of A&M’s 53 hits (42 percent) are of the extra-base variety…Dane Carter extended his hit streak to a career-high tying four games with a 1-for-3 performance…Brodie Greene posted his third career multi-RBI game…Blake Stouffer’s two-hit outing was the 42nd multi-hit game of his career…A&M tallied a season-best five hits with runners in scoring position…Brian Ruggiano saw his season-opening hit streak end at five games, going 0-for-3 with a walk…The Aggies have now won nine straight over McNeese State and lead the overall series, 25-5…Gametime weather: 66 degrees, clear skies, variable light wind.