COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Darby Brown was hit by a two-out pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift eighth-ranked Texas A&M to a 2-1 win over Baylor Friday night before 6,005 fans at Olsen Field.
The victory was the Aggies’ 10th in a row in Big 12 play, setting a new school record. A&M improved to 31-7 and remained in first place in the league at 13-3. The Bears fell to 23-15 and 8-8.
Both starters—A&M’s Brooks Raley and Baylor’s Kendal Volz—lasted into the eighth inning. The two pitching staffs combined to allow 12 hits, only one of which was of the extra-base variety.
“This is the sixth week of conference play for us and it was the first time it was a true Friday night game,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “It was well-played and well-pitched on both sides, and we were fortunate enough to get that go-ahead run in late and lock down the victory. It was a great crowd, great atmosphere—it was Friday night at its best.”
The game was scoreless into the sixth, when Baylor center fielder Raynor Campbell poked a one-out double into the left field corner to score catcher Gregg Glime, who had singled on the infield to lead off the frame.
The Aggies responded quickly in the bottom half of the frame. Bear first baseman Dustin Dickerson mishandled a hard ground ball off the bat of leadoff hitter Dane Carter, who moved into scoring position on the play. After Jose Duran ripped a single to left to put runners at the corners, Luke Anders followed with a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at one.
The Bears threatened to retake the lead in the eighth. Raley quickly retired the first two batters of the inning, but a first-pitch single by third baseman Shaver Hansen ended the freshman’s evening. Kyle Thebeau entered the game and, after giving up a base hit, struck Dickerson out looking on a 3-2 pitch to keep the game deadlocked.
Following a leadoff strikeout in the bottom of the eighth, Blake Stouffer drew a full-count walk and Carter followed with a single to left to chase Volz from the game. Reliever Craig Fritsch got a groundout off the bat of Duran to move both runners into scoring position before hitting Anders to load the bases. Brown was then plunked by a 2-1 pitch to score Stouffer with the game-winning run.
A&M closer Travis Starling retired the side in order in the ninth to record his eighth save of the year.
“Kendal Volz was outstanding, and Brooks matched him pitch for pitch,” Childress said. “Then, Thebeau and Starling came in and did what they were supposed to do. I was really proud of all the guys we threw out on the mound tonight.”
Carter and Duran each went 2-for-4 on the night, with Stouffer and Kevin Gonzalez recording A&M’s other hits. Campbell was the only Baylor player with two hits in the loss.
Raley did not factor in the decision, but matched a career high with 7 2/3 innings of work. The true freshman allowed five hits and one earned run while striking out four. He did not walk a batter.
Thebeau (3-2) picked up the win in relief.
Volz suffered the loss to fall to 3-4, giving up six hits and two runs (one earned) while walking two and fanning eight over 7 1/3 innings.
“I’m as proud as I’ve been all year long of this team,” Childress said. “They can win a lot of different ways. It was important that we got that first one at home, now having to go back up there for two. We were fortunate enough to come out on the winning end. It was a great game.”
The series now shifts to Waco, with Saturday’s game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark. Freshman Barret Loux (2-1, 5.00 ERA) will take the hill for the Aggies, while freshman Shawn Tolleson (4-1, 3.44) is scheduled to start for the Bears. The contest will air locally on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• The win was A&M’s 13th in Big 12 play, equaling the team’s total from 2007 (13-13).
• The win was A&M’s 10th in a row in Big 12 play, a new school record…the Aggies’ previous Big 12 mark for consecutive victories was nine, from March 29-April 18 of 1997.
• The Aggies are now 7-0 in games that Brooks Raley has started on the mound.
• Darby Brown picked up his team-leading eighth game-winning RBI of the year.
• Blake Stouffer extended his career-high hit streak to 14 games with a first-inning single.
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to eight and has now posted multi-hit games in six of the Aggies’ last eight contests…Duran has a base hit in 15 of A&M’s 16 Big 12 games in ’08.
• Dane Carter posted his 23rd multi-hit game of the season…Carter has now hit safely in 34 of 38 games in ’08 and has reached base safely (hit or walk) in 37.
• Travis Starling picked up his eighth save of the year and is now five shy of tying the school’s single season record (13, Scott Beerer, 2003).
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Baylor, 171-127-4, and trails 21-16 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1997…the Aggies won the opening game of the series for the third straight year.
• Game-time temperature was 69 degrees with calm winds and clear skies.