COLLEGE STATION -- A two-out, walk-off RBI single by Luke Anders in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Texas A&M to its sixth straight win as the 16th-ranked Aggies defeated Stephen F. Austin, 5-4, Wednesday afternoon before 2,903 fans at Olsen Field.
With the game deadlocked at four entering A&M’s final at-bat, Darby Brown was able to reach on a two-out error. Brian Ruggiano followed with a single to right before Anders drove home pinch-runner Brodie Greene with the game winner.
The Aggies improved to 23-6 while SFA fell to 11-15.
“We found a way to win today,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “The bullpen was outstanding today, we played strong defense and we got a big hit there at the end when we needed it. I don’t think we played our best baseball, but there’s a lot to be said for just finding a way to win.”
Kyle Colligan led off the game for A&M with a hit for the fifth straight game, and the Aggies would cash in the scoring chance once again. After Colligan stole second, Blake Stouffer lined a 1-2 pitch into center field, where it was dropped by Zach Gardner. Colligan scored on the play to give Texas A&M an early 1-0 lead.
SFA plated a pair in the second off A&M starter Shane Minks on RBI groundouts by Justin Roland and Alex Moshier.
The Aggies scored single runs in the second and third to regain the lead, the latter coming on a two-out Ruggiano single to left center.
Once again, however, the Lumberjacks would put up a two-spot—this time in the fourth inning—on a Roland RBI double and a run-scoring single by Kai Kirby.
With two outs in the fourth, Blake Stouffer would tie the game at four with his second home run of the year, a solo shot to right.
The score remained the same until the last of the ninth, thanks in large part to yet another strong outing by the Aggie pen.
Senior Blake Rampy relieved Minks in the fifth and retired the only two batters he faced. A&M then went to junior Kyle Thebeau, who threw three shutout innings and allowed only two hits. Sophomore Travis Starling (4-0) pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing only a hit, and would pick up the win after Anders’ game-winner.
Kyle Watson (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing the ninth-inning unearned run in 2/3 of a frame of work.
Texas A&M concludes its five-game homestand this weekend when the Aggies host Kansas State in a three-game Big 12 series. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
“I like the way we’re playing,” Childress said. “We’re finding ways to win, and hopefully we can find a way to build on that. That’s something we’ve been pretty consistent with all year long. This weekend will be a challenge against another tough Big 12 squad in K-State, and we’ll need to play some very good baseball to have a chance to win.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• A&M’s ninth-inning throwing error broke a string of 162 consecutive chances, and 37 2/3 innings, without a miscue dating back to the eighth inning of Friday’s game at Kansas.
• Four Aggies extended hit streaks, including Darby Brown (13), Dane Carter (10), Kyle Colligan (6) and Blake Stouffer (5)…Carter has now hit safely in 27 of A&M’s 29 games.
• The Aggies improved to 23-6, matching their win total after 29 games of last season.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with SFA, 16-0.
• Game-time temperature was 78 degrees with cloudy skies and winds blowing in from right-center at seven miles per hour.
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