COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M became the nation’s first Division I baseball team to reach the 40-win plateau as the fifth-ranked Aggies rallied for a 5-4 victory over Dallas Baptist Saturday afternoon before 4,189 fans at Olsen Field.
A&M (40-8) took the lead with a four-run sixth and withstood a ninth-inning Patriot rally to clinch the series. The Aggies became the 17th team in school history to reach 40 victories. DBU, meanwhile, fell to 30-15.
“I thought we played great today,” A&M coach Rob Childress said. “We had a big sixth inning there and a lot of heroes this afternoon. We got No. 40, and when you start talking about benchmark wins, it seems every one has been tough to get. I’m glad we won the series against a very good Dallas Baptist team.”
Trailing 4-1 with one out in the sixth, back-to-back singles by Jose Duran and Luke Anders chased DBU starter Ryan Millard. Darby Brown greeted the next pitcher, Chris Haney, with an RBI single to left that scored Duran and pulled the Aggies within two.
One out later, pinch hitter Brooks Raley executed a perfect hit-and-run through the left side of the infield to score Anders and move Brian Ruggiano, who broke from first on the pitch, to second. After a double steal moved both into scoring position, catcher Kevin Gonzalez lined a full-count pitch just in front of left fielder Ryan Enos to score both Ruggiano and Raley and give A&M a 5-4 lead.
Clayton Ehlert, making his first relief appearance in nearly two months, kept the DBU bats at bay and held the one-run lead all the way to the ninth. After allowing a pair of two-out singles in the sixth, his first inning of work, the sophomore did not allow another ball out of the infield as he retired the next seven batters in a row.
Closer Travis Starling came on to pitch the ninth, and the Patriots were able to get the go-ahead run on base courtesy a one-out single and a two-out walk. After a wild pitch moved both into scoring position, Starling got Ryan Goins, DBU’s best hitter, to fly out to left to end the game.
Gonzalez led the way offensively, tying a career high with three hits and driving in the two sixth-inning runs. Darby Brown added a pair of hits for the Aggies.
Dallas Baptist built their lead courtesy a three-run home run to right center by right fielder Nick Santos in the second and a solo blast to right by Goins in the fourth.
Blake Stouffer drove in A&M’s first run of the afternoon in the third, as the senior ripped an RBI single off the glove of Patriot third baseman Trevor Head to score Gonzalez.
Ehlert (6-2) picked up the victory, tossing three shutout innings and allowing only two hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three. Starling picked up his ninth save of the year on the afternoon. The starter, Barret Loux, allowed five hits, two walks and four runs over five innings while fanning four and did not factor in the decision.
“I thought Barret pitched well today, take away two pitches,” Childress said. “Clayton Ehlert was as sharp as he’s been in the last three weeks, and Travis Starling came in and did what he does.”
Haney (6-4) suffered the loss for DBU, allowing four hits and two earned runs in his 2 1/3 innings of relief. In his sixth start of the season, Millard allowed six hits and three earned runs over 5 1/3.
The Aggies embark on a six-game road trip that opens Tuesday when A&M travels to Huntsville to face Sam Houston State. Scott Migl (2-2, 4.67 ERA) will get the ball for the Aggies, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES:
• The Aggies became the 17th team in school history to win 40 games in a season, and the fastest to do so in NCAA Division I baseball in ’08.
• At 40-8, the 2008 Aggies became the fourth-fastest to reach 40 victories in school history (48 games), trailing the 1989 (41 games), 1993 (46 games) and 1988 (46 games) squads.
• Kevin Gonzalez tied a career high with three hits on the afternoon.
• Jose Duran extended his hit streak to 18 games with a sixth-inning single…Duran became the second player this season to hit safely in 18 straight contests (Blake Stouffer).
• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Dallas Baptist, 19-5.
• With 10 on the day, the Aggies have now reached double-figure hits in 18 of their last 25 games and 31 of 48 overall.
• Two Aggies posted multi-hit games: Kevin Gonzalez (fourth season/career)… and Darby Brown (18th season, 30th career).
• Game-time temperature was 70 degrees with clear skies and winds blowing in from right center at 12 miles per hour.