COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Sophomore transfer Carson Middleton tossed 6 2/3 strong innings and three Aggies combined for no-hit relief the rest of the way as the 21st-ranked Texas A&M baseball team ran its win streak to seven with a 5-1 victory over Nicholls State Tuesday night before 2,884 fans at Olsen Field.
The win moved the Aggies’ record to 8-2 on the season, while the Colonels fell to 1-8.
Middleton (2-0), making his second career start, scattered four hits and allowed one run while walking two and striking out six. Sophomore Michael Heard and junior Hank Robertson both tossed one inning of no-hit relief, with Robertson striking out all three batters in the ninth to end the game. Sandwiched in between was the return of junior Jordan Chambless to the mound, who fanned the only batter he faced to end the top of the eighth.
Texas A&M fed Middleton a big lead early, scoring five runs in the first two innings off Nicholls State starter Jake Parrish (0-1), but would get nothing more on the board after that.
“I thought Carson Middleton was outstanding,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Everybody we ran out there was outstanding on the mound. But, I am disappointed that here we are again, it was the same game we played Sunday—get off to a fast start and not be able to put anybody away. At some point it’s going to catch up to us. We’ve got to learn to have that instinct that when we get up, we’re going to take the game, and we didn’t do it.”
Center fielder Brooks Raley led off the game with a four-pitch walk, and back-to-back bunt singles by left fielder Ben Feltner and third baseman Dane Carter loaded the bases with no outs. Shortstop Jose Duran’s ensuing ground ball to shortstop forced Carter at second, but plated Raley with the first run of the game. Nicholls was then able to get a double play to end the threat.
The Aggies tacked on four more runs in the second, extending their lead to 5-0.
Second baseman Brodie Greene led off the frame with a double inside the bag at third and down the left field line, then moved to third on a wild pitch. One out later right fielder Daman Aaron, making his first start of the season, followed by ripping a 3-1 pitch up the middle. NSU second baseman Zac Bone knocked the ball down but had no play, and Greene scored the first run of the inning on the RBI single.
Catcher Kevin Gonzalez lifted a fly ball down the right field line that was dropped, allowing runners to move to second and third. After a strikeout, Aaron scored on a wild pitch and Gonzalez scored on an infield bunt single by Feltner, making the score 4-0. The Aggie left fielder moved to second on a balk and scored on an RBI single to right by Carter for the inning’s final run.
Colonel starter Jake Parrish settled in after that, retiring 17 of the final 19 A&M batters. The only Aggie to reach base in the final six innings was Carter, who did so with a single and double and finished the game a career-best 4-for-4.
Nicholls scored their only run of the game in the sixth. A lead double by Josh Swenson in the frame and a bunt single put runners at the corners with no outs, and an RBI groundout by Keith Kulbeth put NSU on the board.
Middleton would give up a lead double in the seventh, but quickly retired the next two batters. He was lifted after a wild pitch and a walk, but that would be the final Colonel baserunner of the night. Heard entered and got Swenson to fly out to center to end the threat.
Heard would retire both batters he faced in the eighth on infield grounders, bowing to Chambless—who struck out Kulbeth on a 1-2 slider. Chambless’ outing was the first since Feb. 27, 2007, after being sidelined since May of last season with a shoulder injury.
“It was good to get him back,” Childress said. “That guy’s worked awfully hard to come back. By no means is he back where he was, but you add him in the mix with a Travis Starling, a Kevin Cravey and a Hank Robertson, that’s pretty fun to have back there.”
Robertson would then get all three Nicholls batters looking in the ninth.
Parrish suffered the loss, throwing a complete game and giving up eight hits, five runs (two earned) while walking one and striking out six.
Wednesday’s series finale will begin at 3 p.m. Kids 12 and under will receive free admission with a paid adult. There is a limit of four kids per adult and all seats are general admission. In addition, those attending the game can get two slices of pizza and a drink for $3 as part of the new "Dinner at the Diamond" promotion. The game will be broadcast locally on WTAW-AM 1620 and will also be shown free of charge on aggieathletics.com.
POSTGAME NOTES: Dane Carter extended his career-best hit streak to eight games…Carter also set a career-high with four hits and has now driven in a run in seven of the last eight…Brodie Greene tied a career-high by hitting safely in his fifth straight contest…Right fielder Daman Aaron made his first start of the season…Jordan Chambless’ appearance Tuesday night came three days before his 23rd birthday…Aggie pitching struck out 10 batters for the third time this season…Not including the 7-inning game against Northern Colorado (Feb. 23), Texas A&M pitching has fanned eight or more in every game in 2008…The Aggie staff is averaging 9.5 strikeouts per contest…With two on the evening, Aggie hitters have now doubled in 16 consecutive games dating back to last year…The last time A&M did not have a double in a game was June 1, 2007 in the NCAA Regional opener against Le Moyne…Senior Blake Stouffer had the night off for the first time in 132 games…Tuesday marked the first time that the two schools have met on the diamond since Feb. 24, 1996…A&M now leads the all-time series, 4-0…Game-time weather was 61 degrees and clear skies with a light breeze.