WACO, Texas—Texas A&M belted five home runs off Baylor pitching Saturday night, powering the eighth-ranked Aggies to an 11-1 win over the Bears before 4,794 fans at Baylor Ballpark.
With the victory, A&M’s 11th straight in Big 12 play, the Aggies moved to 32-7 overall and remained in first place in the league at 14-3. The Bears fell to 23-16 and 8-9.
“We played well in really every facet of the game tonight,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “The pitching and defense were outstanding…offensively, we had kind of lost our swagger the last few games and I feel like we got that back tonight. (Baylor starter Shawn) Tolleson has outstanding stuff and we were able to take advantage of some pitches up in the zone. Hopefully we can keep that up through the series finale tomorrow.”
Darby Brown opened the scoring in the second, bashing his team-leading ninth home run of the year over the fence in right field. The solo shot gave the Aggies an early 1-0 lead.
Kyle Colligan opened what would become a six-run third with a solo home run to left, his fifth of the season. One out later, Dane Carter walked and came home on Jose Duran’s third long ball of the year—a two-run shot to center that upped the A&M lead to 4-0.
Luke Anders followed with a double to left center field. Two batters later, Brian Ruggiano drove a single up the middle to score the Aggie first baseman and chase Tolleson from the game.
Ben Feltner greeted Bear reliever Randall Linebaugh with a triple to right, bringing home Ruggiano and making the score 6-0. Kevin Gonzalez then drove the next pitch up the middle to close out the scoring in the frame.
A&M starter Barret Loux allowed the only two hits of his outing in consecutive at-bats leading off the Baylor third. The Bears followed a sacrifice bunt with a hit batsmen to load the bases and threaten to climb back into the game. Loux, however, got second baseman Raynor Campbell to ground into a double play and end Baylor’s only real threat of the night.
A&M would add one in the fifth on a leadoff home run by Brian Ruggiano—his fifth of the season—and three more in the sixth. The big blow in that frame was a line drive two-run shot to right by Anders, his ninth of the year.
Baylor got on the board with a solo shot by cleanup hitter Adam Hornung in the seventh to mark the final run of the night.
A&M matched a season high with 18 hits, as every starter got at least a single. Five Aggies posted multi-hit games, led by Anders, who matched a career high with four hits. Colligan and Ruggiano had three each while Brown and Feltner added two. Four players—Duran, Anders, Ruggiano and Gonzalez—each drove in a pair.
Loux improved to 3-1 after tossing five shutout innings and allowing two hits and two walks. The freshman hit one batter and struck out five.
Junior Hank Robertson picked up his first career save, allowing three hits and one run over the final four innings. He walked one and matched a career high with four punch outs.
Tolleson (4-2) suffered the loss, allowing six hits and six earned runs over 2 2/3 innings. He walked two and fanned two.
The series concludes on Sunday with first pitch at Baylor Ballpark set for 2 p.m. Sophomore Clayton Ehlert (5-2, 3.00 ERA) will take the hill for the Aggies against Baylor sophomore Willie Kempf (5-1, 3.71). The contest will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
“Tomorrow is obviously a very important game,” Childress said. “Anytime you’re on the road and you have a chance to sweep you have to take care of business. (BU starter) Willie Kempf has pitched very well for them, and offensively they are as volatile as anyone in the league. It ought to be a great game.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• A&M hit five home runs in a game for the first time since May 15, 1999…the Aggies belted five on that day in a 13-12 loss to Oklahoma in Norman (Sean Heaney 2, Steve Scarborough, Shawn Schumacher, Chad Hudson)…Saturday marked A&M’s 12th multi-home run game of the 2008 season.
• The five home runs tied a Baylor Ballpark opponent record…Oklahoma hit five in a loss to the Bears in 1999.
• At 14-3 in Big 12 play, Texas A&M has matched its best “start” in Big 12 history (1999)…the Aggies’ 14 league wins are the most since 2004 (14-12).
• The win was the Aggies’ 11th straight in Big 12 play, making the ’08 squad only the fourth in school history to win 11 conference games in a row…the record of 12 was set by the 1971 and 1974 teams (1970 also won 11 straight).
• A&M has now won six consecutive road games for the first time since 2000.
• Texas A&M tied a season high with 18 hits on the night…it was the Aggies’ 23rd double-digit hit outing of the year…A&M has reached double figures in the hit column in 10 of 17 Big 12 games in ’08.
• Ben Feltner’s third-inning triple gave Texas A&M 23 on the season, the most by an Aggie team since 1998 (24).
• Five Aggies posted multi-hit games: Luke Anders (14th of year, 33rd of career); Kyle Colligan (11th, 40th); Brian Ruggiano (14th, 19th); Ben Feltner (6th, 24th); Darby Brown (13th, 24th).
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to nine games…Duran has a base hit in 16 of A&M’s 17 Big 12 games in ’08.
• Dane Carter has now hit safely in 35 of 39 games in ’08 and has reached base safely (hit or walk) in 38.
• Blake Stouffer extended his career-high hit streak to 15 games.
• Luke Anders tied a career high with four hits on the night…it was Anders’ third four-hit game of his career (March 10, 2007 vs Florida; March 9, 2008 vs Rutgers).
• Kyle Colligan has scored a run in 28 of 34 games played in ’08.
• Kevin Gonzalez has hit safely in eight of the last 12 games.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Baylor, 172-127-4, and trails 21-17 since the formation of the Big 12 in 1997…including last season’s 12-7 win, the Aggies have won back-to-back games in Waco for the first time since 1996 (doubleheader sweep, 16-8 and 9-1, on May 10, 1996).
• Game-time temperature was 80 degrees with clear skies and winds blowing out to center at five miles per hour.