COLLEGE STATION, Texas- No. 9 Texas A&M hit four home runs, including two by Kyle Colligan on Tuesday night, as the Aggies slugged their way past McNeese State, 11-6, at Olsen Field.
The win improved the Aggies overall record to 41-12, while McNeese State dropped to 20-31. Texas A&M finished the mid-week portion of its schedule a perfect 10-0 and the Aggies finished with a record of 28-2 in non-conference games.
“It was important to win tonight and important that we were ready to play,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “It would have been easy for our players to look ahead to the weekend, but they were focused on tonight’s game.”
The Aggies return to Big 12 Conference play when they play No. 5 Texas this weekend. The series opener will be Friday at Olsen Field at 6:30 p.m. The second and third games of the series will shift to Austin on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
A&M took the early lead in the top of the first with a pair of runs on three hits. Brandon Hicks singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Feltner, stole third and scored on a wild pitch by Cowboys’ starter John Ropp. Luke Anders singled with two outs and scored on a double to left center by Craig Stinson.
Anders delivered a two-out RBI single in the third to increase the A&M lead to 3-0. The single scored Ben Feltner, who also singled and stole second earlier in the frame.
McNeese cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fifth with two runs off A&M starter Clayton Ehlert. Joe Hulett was hit by a pitch, Taylor Faul singled with one out and then with two outs, back-to-back walks to Brad Becker and Andy Riche brought the first run home. David Leatherwood then legged out an infield single to score another run.
A three-run sixth gave the Cowboys a 5-3 lead. Ryan Cartie doubled off reliever Matt Ueckert and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Parker Dalton. A sacrifice bunt by Jeramie Broussard moved Hulett to third and a single by Taylor Faul gave MSU the lead. Travis starling replaced Ueckert and with two outs, Andy Riche singled to plate Faul.
The Aggies used three home runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead 8-5. Craig Stinson hit his 10th of the year, a two-run shot that tied the game at five apiece. Colligan immediately followed with a solo shot to give A&M the lead. With two outs, Hicks belted a two-run homer, his 10th of the year.
Three straight singles by Hulett, Broussard and Faul plated a run in the top of the seventh and cut the A&M lead to 8-6.
The Aggies added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach. Colligan hit his second homer of the game and Brain Ruggiano delivered an RBI double and later scored when Hicks grounded into a double play.
Travis Starling (1-0) earned his first career collegiate win, pitching two innings of relief and allowing one run on six hits. He struck out four and did not walk a man. William Strong (0-1) shouldered the loss.
Kyle Thebeau fanned three and did not allow a base runner in the final 1 2/3 to earn his sixth save of the year.
Ehlert lasted five-complete innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out four and walked two.