COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Jose Duran, Dane Carter and Brooks Raley had three hits each to pace a 16-hit attack, and Shane Minks picked up his fourth win of the season, as No. 22 Texas A&M defeated Centenary, 9-2, Tuesday night before 2,745 fans at Olsen Field.
With the victory, the Aggies improved to 12-3 and have won 11 of their last 12 games. Centenary saw its four-game win streak come to an end as they fell to 9-3. The 16 hits by A&M was a season high.
“Offensively we didn’t start fast, but we definitely finished strong,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Overall that’s what we’re looking for though—16 hits against anybody is a great night. After leaving the bases loaded twice early, I felt like maybe it was going to be one of those nights, but we were able to get some big hits in the middle of the game and give us that cushion.”
The Aggies blew open what was a tight game in the middle innings. Entering the fourth tied at one, A&M put up four-spots in the fourth and sixth innings to pick up its third straight victory.
Aggie right fielder Daman Aaron got things going with a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Centenary starter Joe Hagen tried to pick Aaron off, but the throw sailed past the first baseman and allowed Aaron to move all the way to third. Raley then followed with a bunt towards third base and, as Aaron raced home, Raley beat the throw to first to record an RBI single.
After another bunt single to third, this one by left fielder Ben Feltner, Carter drove Raley home with a base hit to right to make the score 3-1. Then, as Carter stole second, Feltner crossed the plate with the Aggies’ fourth run on a passed ball. Carter would swipe third base and subsequently score when Hagen slipped down attempting to field a bunt by Duran to extend the lead to four.
The Gents would answer with a single run in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, A&M tried to pick Jamar Tabor off of second base, but Minks’ throw went into the outfield to score Ricky Imperiali.
Duran would make the score 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth when, with one out and two on, he drove the first pitch he saw off the middle of the batter’s eye in center field for his second round-tripper of the season.
Darby Brown then took the next pitch over the center-field fence. The back-to-back home runs pushed the Aggie lead to seven.
Minks set a career best on the night with six strikeouts as he improved to a league-leading 4-0. He allowed two runs (one earned) while walking four.
“I didn’t think Shane had his best command tonight, but he competed his tail off,” Childress said. “He fought through some struggles command-wise early, but he was able to fight out of the jam and get settled in. He gave us a chance to get the offense going. I thought he did a nice job.”
Junior Kyle Thebeau made his third relief appearance of the year and shut the door on any Centenary comeback. Over 2 1/3 shutout innings he allowed two hits and no walks while fanning five. Junior Jordan Chambless tossed the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Hagen (0-1) suffered his first loss of the year for the Gents, going 3 2/3 and issuing 10 hits, five runs (four earned) and four walks while striking out one.
Texas A&M concludes the series with Centenary on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Olsen Field. Sophomore Clayton Ehlert (0-1, 4.91 ERA) will get the ball for the Aggies, while the Gents will counter with sophomore Dakota Robinson (3-0, 1.69). The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
Fans are encouraged to bring new and used baseball equipment to the game, as the Diamond Darlings will be collecting the gear to benefit the Bryan Little League. In exchange for a donation, fans will receive a voucher for a discounted ticket to selected upcoming Texas A&M home games.
In addition, kids 12 and under will receive free admission with a paid adult through the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” promotion. There is a limit of four kids per adult and all seats are general admission.
Finally, those in attendance can take advantage of "Dinner at the Diamond", which offers fans two slices of pizza and a drink for $3.
Wednesday’s game marks the final tune-up before Big 12 play begins this weekend, when the Aggies host Texas Tech. Tickets for those and all home games are available by calling 888-99-AGGIE or by logging on to aggieathletics.com.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES
• The Aggies’ 16 hits was a season best. The previous high was 15 against Nicholls State on March 5.
• A&M has now posted double-figure hits in eight of its last 11 games.
• A&M’s pitching staff fanned 12 Centenary batters on Tuesday, the sixth 10-plus strikeout performance of the year…The Aggie hurlers have totaled eight or more strikeouts in all but two of the 15 games in ’08.
• Dane Carter extended his career-best hit streak to 13 games with a first-pitch single in the first inning…With three knocks on the night, the senior has multi-hit performances in 10 of A&M’s 15 games on the year…Carter has reached base safely (hit or walk) in all 15 games this season.
• Jose Duran totaled a career-high four RBI on the night…It was Duran’s team-leading fifth multi-RBI game of 2008…Duran’s three-hit effort was his seventh multi-hit game of the year as well…Duran extended his career-best hit streak to five games
• Brooks Raley set new career bests in RBI (2) and hits (3).
• Blake Stouffer has now hit safely in eight of his last 10 games…Over that stretch he is hitting .324 with 11 runs batted in.
• Shane Minks’ six strikeouts was a career high. His previous best was five against McNeese State (Feb. 26)…Minks has won all three of his starts this season and has been the winning pitcher in all four appearances in ’08.
• Jose Duran and Darby Brown hit home runs on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. The last time the Aggies accomplished that feat was on April 15, 2007, when Luke Anders and Craig Stinson teamed up in the second inning at Missouri…The last time A&M had players homer in consecutive at-bats was May 15 of last year (Craig Stinson, Kyle Colligan) in the sixth inning of a win against McNeese State.
• Daman Aaron’s 2-for-3 performance marked the first multi-hit game of his career.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Centenary, 16-1, and has won 11 straight.
• Game-time weather was 66 degrees and clear, with winds blowing in from center at 5-10 miles per hour.