LAWRENCE, KS -- Senior Darby Brown went 5-for-5 with five RBI to lead No. 20 Texas A&M to 13-6 win over Kansas Friday afternoon in a Big 12 series opener before 828 fans at Hoglund Ballpark.
The win pushed Texas A&M to 19-6 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 play, while KU fell to 18-10 and 1-3 and saw a five-game win streak come to an end.
Brown began his career afternoon with an RBI double off the wall in center field in a first inning that saw the Aggies send 12 to the plate and score eight runs.
“Darby’s really done a tremendous job out there of late,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “He’s really gotten himself going and picked himself up. He had a great night, and a lot of other guys did too. I’m happy for him as a senior to get it going, and I expect some other guys to do the same thing—and they’re going to before it’s all said and done.”
Kyle Colligan began the game with a single to left, and Blake Stouffer followed with a bunt single just to the right of the pitcher’s mound. After a double steal and strikeout, Jose Duran doubled to right to bring both home. He would score on Brown’s ensuing double.
After a walk to Brian Ruggiano, a base hit by Luke Anders drove Brown home. On the play, an errant throw from the outfield kicked off Ruggiano’s foot near third base and went into the dugout, pushing him home and moving Anders to third. Brodie Greene drove him home two pitches later with a single to right, making the score 6-0.
Kevin Gonzalez reached on an error by KU shortstop Erik Morrison, then moved to third on an RBI double inside the bag at third by Colligan that chased starter Wally Marciel. Gonzalez would score the eighth and final run of the frame on an RBI groundout by Stouffer.
“We had a really good approach against their lefty tonight, an up-the-middle one,” Childress said. “It was good to see us come up big with runners in scoring position. A lot of times, when you score a lot early, it kind of falls apart on you and the other team chips away and gets back in it. But our pitching and defense didn’t allow them to do that and we were able to build on the lead.”
The Aggies added a single run in the fifth on a Brodie Greene RBI single and two more in the sixth on a two-out single to left by Brown.
With A&M leading 11-4 in the top of the eighth, Brown cashed in again with a two-run single to right to drive in the Aggies’ final runs of the afternoon.
Kansas scratched across single runs in the fourth and fifth inning, but would score four of their six runs in the final third of the game.
True freshman Brooks Raley (4-0) won his third consecutive Big 12 start, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing nine hits and four runs (all earned). He did not walk a batter and fanned six.
“The last two weeks, Brooks has gotten some great run support early and he’s been able to relax and get us off to a good start,” Childress said. “I didn’t think he had great command tonight but once again he competed extremely hard. Kansas had a really good approach against him, but he was able to avoid some jams and that was good.”
Redshirt freshman Kevin Cravey allowed four hits and two unearned runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
KU starter Wally Marciel (2-4) suffered the loss, lasting just 1/3 of an inning and issuing seven hits, eight runs (six earned) and one walk while striking out one.
Texas A&M and Kansas continue the series on Saturday with first pitch set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on WTAW-AM 1620. The Aggies will send true freshman Barret Loux (1-1, 3.76 ERA) to the hill while KU will counter with junior southpaw Nick Czyz (1-3, 7.77).
“It’s good to start off this series with a win,” Childress said. “But our guys need to remember that when we show up tomorrow it’s going to be zero-zero again.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• Darby Brown’s five hits and five runs batted in were both career highs…in addition, his first-inning double off the center field wall extended his hit streak to a career-best nine games.
• Jose Duran’s first-inning double extended his hit streak to a season- and career-best nine games.
• Brown and Duran have now hit safely in all seven Big 12 games.
• Texas A&M’s eight first-inning runs were the most by an Aggie team since March 12, 2000…that day A&M scored nine runs in the first against Texas Tech, and six in the second, en route to a 16-4 win over the Red Raiders at Olsen Field.
• The Aggies sent 12 men to the plate in the first inning, a season high…it also marked the fifth time this year that A&M has batted around…the Aggies had sent 10 to the plate four previous times (3rd inning vs Arkansas, March 1; 5th inning vs Texas Tech, March 15; 4th inning vs UT Arlington, March 18; 1st inning at Oklahoma State, March 21).
• Texas A&M’s 17 hits set a season high.
• A&M’s victory snapped a four-game losing streak in Lawrence and was the Aggies’ first since April 10, 2004…Texas A&M now leads the overall series, 38-14, and 26-8 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1997.
• Game-time temperature was 52 degrees with clear skies and a light breeze.
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