COLLEGE STATION, Texas- No. 6 Texas A&M pounded out a season-high 20 hits and withstood a late Texas State rally as the Aggies defeated the Bobcats, 14-11, Tuesday night before 3,603 fans at Olsen Field.
The Aggies built a 14-4 lead after six innings, but saw Texas State score seven times in the eighth to pull within three. Due to four miscues by the A&M defense, all 11 runs for the Bobcats on the night were unearned.
The Aggies, who have won four straight and 17 of their last 18, improved to 34-7 on the season. Texas State saw a five-game win streak snapped as it fell to 23-15.
“Tonight was about us playing the game of baseball,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Executing the routine is something we didn’t do. You definitely have to give Texas State credit, they have a good team. They are hitting .330 for a reason. I’m proud of our perseverance though and I’m glad we won the game. Hopefully it’s something we’ll learn from, get out of our system and be able to focus on the weekend.”
Texas A&M started quick out of the gate in the first. With one out, a walk and three straight hits gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead. The final two, singles up the middle by Jose Duran and Luke Anders, drove in the runs.
After loading the bases with one out in the second, Texas A&M built on its lead with an RBI single to right by Blake Stouffer. Dane Carter followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make the score 4-0. The next batter, Duran, doubled into the right center field gap to push the lead to six before being thrown out trying for third.
A lead error by the Aggie defense in the top of the third opened the door for four unearned runs by Texas State. With two outs and runners at second and third, right fielder Elliott Babcock doubled to the wall in right center to score a pair. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt followed with his 13th home run of the year to center field to but the A&M lead to 6-4.
Brodie Greene began a six-run Aggie fourth with a two-run home run to left, his second of the year. An error and back-to-back singles loaded the bases and, one out later, Anders and Darby Brown notched back-to-back two-run singles to make the score 12-4.
Texas A&M built the lead to 10 two innings later. A one-out RBI triple by Brian Ruggiano plated Anders, and Nick Fleece followed with an infield grounder to drive in Ruggiano with the 14th run of the night.
A hit batsmen, three errors and a wild pitch combined to begin the Bobcats’ seven-run eighth. One run came home during that sequence, and center fielder Laurn Randell added to the rally with a two-run double just inside the first-base bag. A wild pitch by reliever Kevin Cravey and a base hit to left by Spenser Dennis then made the score 14-9. After a sacrifice fly off the bat of Aaron Fuller and an RBI single by Jason Martinson pulled the Bobcats within three, the Aggies went to Hank Robertson out of the pen.
Robertson fanned the first batter he faced before walking Babcock to bring the tying run to the plate. Kyle Thebeau then entered in relief and got Goldschmidt to foul out behind the plate to end the rally.
Thebeau would face the minimum three batters in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
The Aggies, who totaled 20 hits for only the sixth time in the last 10 years, had seven players record multi-hit nights. Leading the way were Duran (3-for-4, 3 RBI), Anders (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Ruggiano (3-for-5, RBI). Stouffer extended his career-high hit streak to 17 games with a 2-for-2 showing.
Randell (2-for-5, 2 RBI) was the only Texas State player with more than one hit. Goldschmidt drove in a team-high three on the night.
Carson Middleton (4-0) picked up the victory with three solid shutout innings of relief. The sophomore allowed two hits while not walking a batter and fanning three.
Boles (1-4) suffered the loss, allowing 12 hits and 12 runs over 3 1/3 innings of work, while walking two and striking out one.
Texas A&M returns to action this weekend when the Aggies host No. 4 Missouri in a Big 12 showdown at Olsen Field. The series, which coincides with Prostate Cancer Awareness Weekend at the stadium, opens on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620. Tickets are available at the gate, by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE or logging on to aggieathletics.com.
“Missouri is an outstanding team and is very well coached,” Childress said. “They’ve got a couple of Friday night guys and an outstanding Sunday starter. We’re going to have to play almost mistake-free baseball. I’m really looking forward to seeing our offense against their pitching, and our pitchers against their good lineup. It’s going to be a great series.”
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• The Aggies tallied 20 hits for the first time this season and just the sixth time in the last 10 years…the last time A&M reached the 20-hit mark was on May 27, 2007 in Oklahoma City in the Big 12 Championship game against Baylor.
• The Aggies used a season-high 22 players in the game, which lasted right at three hours.
• Texas A&M scored 10 or more runs for the third straight game and the 15th time overall in 2008.
• Texas A&M committed four errors for only the second time this season…the only other game with at least four miscues was the season opener…in a 9-5 win over Northern Colorado (Feb. 22), A&M committed five errors.
• Texas State’s 11 runs was the second most allowed by Texas A&M pitching this season…however, the Aggies’ team ERA dropped from 3.66 to 3.57 with all of the runs being unearned.
• The 14 runs were the second-most the Aggies have scored against Texas State, second only to a 17-10 win over then Southwest Texas State on Feb. 3, 1997 in San Marcos.
• Blake Stouffer extended his career-high hit streak to 17 games, tying Darby Brown for the longest by an Aggie this season.
• Jose Duran tied his season high by hitting safely in his 11th straight game.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series against Texas State, 35-11.
• Game-time temperature was 89 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing out to center at two miles per hour.