COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Luke Anders, Darby Brown and Dane Carter all homered and the Aggie defense tied a school record with four double plays as the 21st-ranked Texas A&M baseball team defeated Nicholls State, 14-3, Wednesday afternoon before 2,639 fans at Olsen Field.
The victory was the eighth in a row for the Aggies, who improved to 9-2 on the season, while the Colonels fell to 1-9.
“You look up at the scoreboard, and that’s what we fully expected to do today,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “We only had one zero on there. When you have a chance to put somebody away, that’s what you’ve got to do, and today we did.”
Texas A&M put the lead runner on in all but the sixth inning, scoring in every frame but the second. The Aggies pounded out a season-high 15 hits and smashed three doubles to go along with the three long balls.
“There’s a lot of things we can do if we can get that leadoff hitter on base,” Childress said. “It is important for any offense but especially ours, because we do want to pressure you so much.”
Anders opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-out, two-strike bloop into shallow left center field to score Brodie Greene and Blake Stouffer with the game’s first runs.
After Carter opened the third with a double to the base of the wall in left, he scored two pitches later on an RBI single up the middle by Stouffer.
A&M made it 4-0 in the fourth. After a lead double by Brown off the top of the wall in left, one out later Ben Feltner shot the first pitch he saw back up the middle to drive home the Aggies’ designated hitter.
A five-run bottom of the fifth would put the game out of reach, and Texas A&M would use the long ball to do it.
With runners at first and second and one out, Anders drove the first pitch he saw over the wall in left center, just to the right of the light pole, for his first home run of the season. The three-run blast pushed the Aggie lead to 7-0 and gave the junior a career-high five RBI on the day.
After a walk and a pitching change, Brown sent a full-count offering high off the top of the batter’s eye in center field. The two-run home run was the senior’s first of the season—and second of his career—and pushed A&M’s lead to nine.
Nicholls cut the lead to six with a three-run sixth, but Ruggiano got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the frame with a two-out single to center.
One inning later, Carter would hit a three-run homer over the wall in center, his team-best third round-tripper of the season, to up the advantage to 13-3. The senior third baseman would then set a new career best with his fourth RBI of the game in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to close out the scoring.
Sophomore Shane Minks (3-0) picked up his team-best third win of the year in his second career start, going six complete. He gave up six hits, three runs (two earned) and walked a batter. Yet again, the Aggie bullpen was strong, as Blake Rampy, Clayton Ehlert and Evan Gerald tossed a combined three innings of shutout relief.
Colonel starter Ryan Harding (0-3) suffered the loss, lasting four innings and issuing nine hits, six runs (all earned) and two walks while fanning three.
Texas A&M continues its 20-game homestand this weekend when the Aggies welcome defending Big East champion and NCAA tournament participant Rutgers to Olsen Field for three games. The series opens Friday at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Fred Hill and their program,” Childress said. “They are well coached and we’ll have our hands full offensively with their three starters. They know how to play the game and they know how to win, and they have good players. We have to treat this like a Big 12 series. Conference for us starts this weekend, and that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”
POSTGAME NOTES: Texas A&M tied a school record with four double plays on the day…While the feat has been accomplished many times, the last time the Aggies did turn four double plays in one game was against Clemson in the NCAA Super Regional championship on June 6, 1999, or 499 games ago…Texas A&M pounded out a season-high 15 hits, the most by an Aggie team since a 20-hit effort in the Big 12 Championship game against Baylor on May 27, 2007 in Oklahoma City…After hitting two home runs in the first seven games of the season, the Aggies have bashed eight in the last four contests…With three doubles on the day, A&M has now doubled in 17 straight games dating back to the 2007 season…The Aggies got the lead runner on base in every inning but the sixth…Darby Brown had his first multi-hit game of the year, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI…His three hits in the game tied a career best…Brown’s home run was the second of his career…The first came last season against Kansas (March 16, 2007)…Dane Carter extended his career-best hit streak to nine games and set a career high with four RBI…Carter, who doubled in the fourth, singled in the fifth and homered in the seventh, was a triple short of the cycle…Tuesday was Carter’s sixth multi-hit game of the young season and his third ina row, and he is hitting .643 over those three games…Brodie Greene made his first career start in center field and his first-ever start in the leadoff spot…Greene drove the first pitch he saw into center field and has now hit safely in six straight games, a new career high…Luke Anders extended his season-best hit streak to four games with his 2-for-3, five RBI effort…Anders’ five RBI bettered his previous career high of four, set against Nebraska on April 1, 2007…Junior Joey Register saw his first career at-bats at Texas A&M—sort of…He was hit by the first pitch he saw in an Aggie uniform in the seventh inning, and was plunked again on the second pitch of his at-bat in the eighth…Junior righty Evan Gerald made his first appearance on the mound since he tossed 2/3 of an inning against Texas-Arlington on Feb. 20, 2007…Texas A&M has now won all five meetings in the series against Nicholls State…Game-time weather was 74 degrees and clear, with the wind blowing out to center at 10 miles per hour.