COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Kevin Gonzalez drove in a career high five runs and Luke Anders homered twice to lead sixth-ranked Texas A&M to a 15-0 shutout of No. 4 Missouri Saturday afternoon before 5,478 fans at Olsen Field.
The Aggies (36-7, 17-3) set a new Big 12 record with their 14th consecutive league victory, and posted their largest shutout win in a conference game in 34 years. The Tigers suffered their third straight loss, falling to 29-13 and 9-8.
“When you look at the scoreboard and see one ‘zero’ up there, that’s a pretty good offensive day,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Really everyone, up and down the lineup, had a good day. On the other side of the coin I thought we pitched and played great defense. We tossed a shutout and had no errors on the board. We probably couldn’t have played a more complete game. These guys have a lot of fun together and they love to play together, and you could see that today.”
A&M pounced on Mizzou starter Kyle Gibson (6-1) for seven runs over the first five innings, tagging the sophomore with his first loss of 2008.
Anders got the scoring started in the second, leading off the frame by lining his 10th home run of the year over the fence in right.
Dane Carter’s seventh round-tripper of the year, a two-out, two-run shot to left center in the third, gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead.
Anders added another leadoff long ball in the fourth, launching one just inside the foul pole down the left field line.
In the fifth inning, RBI singles by Blake Stouffer and Jose Duran and a sacrifice fly by Darby Brown pushed the lead to 7-0.
Gonzalez drove in his first run of the day off reliever Ryan Gargano in the sixth, as the redshirt freshman laced a double to the right center field gap to score Brodie Greene with the Aggies’ eighth run of the afternoon.
In the seventh, Gonzalez added a bases-clearing, three-run double to left center to push the lead to 11. Two outs and a hit batter later, Duran singled in Gonzalez, making the score 12-0.
Pinch hitter Caleb Shofner smashed the first pitch he saw leading off the eighth over the fence in left for his first career home run. The Aggies would tack on two more in the frame.
Gonzalez’s three hits and five RBI were both career highs and led the A&M attack. Greene went 3-for-5 on the afternoon and scored a team-high three runs. Three other Aggies—Carter, Duran and Anders—each posted two hits and drove in two runs.
Mizzou’s three hits came in the third, fifth and seventh innings, and the Tigers saw just two runners reach second base.
Barret Loux (4-1) had his third straight strong start for Texas A&M, cruising through six shutout innings while allowing a pair of hits and two walks while striking out five. Kirkland Rivers and Evan Gerald combined for three innings of one-hit relief.
“Barret Loux was outstanding today,” Childress said. “That’s three starts in a row that you couldn’t ask more from any pitcher in the country. Also, Kirkland and Evan did a good job coming in and throwing strikes and getting outs.”
Gibson suffered the loss, allowing seven hits and seven runs while walking two and striking out six over five innings.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports Net. The Aggies will send sophomore Clayton Ehlert (5-2, 3.21 ERA) to the mound, while Missouri is scheduled to counter with junior lefty Rick Zagone (1-2, 6.62). The game will also air locally on WTAW-AM 1620, and tickets are available at the gate or online at aggieathletics.com.
“Winning 14 in a row is great but, you know, we still haven’t done anything yet,” Childress said. “We want to finish this thing off the right way. (The win streak) just means we’ve been pretty consistent and when we’ve made mistakes we’ve been able to overcome them offensively. We will face another tough test tomorrow against a very good team, and we have to be ready for that challenge.”
Kids 12 and under can receive free admission with a paid adult through the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” promotion. There is a limit of four kids per adult and all seats are general admission. In addition, all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases following the game. The Prostate Cancer Awareness Weekend silent auction will also wrap up on Sunday.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• Texas A&M set a new Big 12 record with its 14th consecutive conference victory…A&M bested the record for league wins in a row, set by Nebraska in 2000…the Aggies have not lost a Big 12 game since March 23 at Oklahoma State.
• Blake Stouffer extended his hit streak to a career-high 19 games.
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to a season (and career) best 13 games…Duran has hit safely in 19 of A&M’s 20 Big 12 games, and has posted multi-hit games in 15 of the 20 league games.
• Dane Carter has now reached safely (hit or walk) in 42 of A&M’s 43 games in 2008, and hit safely in 38 of those.
• The 15-0 win was Texas A&M’s 10th shutout all-time in Big 12 Conference play, and the first since an 8-0 win over Kansas State on May 15, 2004…it also marked the most runs the Aggies have scored in a Big 12 shutout victory.
• The 15-run margin of victory tied a school record in a Big 12 game, matching A&M’s 19-4 win over Iowa State on April 5, 1997 at Olsen Field…it was the largest margin of victory in a conference game since the Aggies defeated Texas, 25-6, on April 30, 1995 in Austin in a Southwest Conference matchup.
• Saturday’s victory was the largest shutout win in a conference game for Texas A&M since a 15-0 defeat of Arkansas in 1974…the Aggies also beat SMU, 20-0, that same season.
• Five Aggies posted multi-hit games on the day: Dane Carter (26th season, 28th career)…Jose Duran (24th season/career)…Luke Anders (15th season, 35th career)…Brodie Greene (sixth season, 11th career)…and Kevin Gonzalez (third season/career).
• Dane Carter’s third-inning home run was the 50th of the season for Texas A&M, coming in game No. 43…last season, the Aggies hit home run No. 50 in game No. 50 en route to 66 total.
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Mizzou, 34-24-1, and trails 18-16 since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997.
• Sunday’s game will air live on FOX Sports Net, with Greg Lucas and Jack Lazorko calling the action…FSN Detroit, Midwest (non-Royals), Rocky Mountain, Southwest and West along with Comcast New England are scheduled to air the broadcast live…check local listings for station and airtime nearest you.
• Game-time temperature was 81 degrees with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing out to center at five miles per hour.