COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Four Texas A&M pitchers combined to scatter three hits and two walks in the Aggies’ first shutout of the season, a 2-0 win over the Dallas Baptist Patriots, Tuesday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Grayson Long (3-0) started for the Aggies, sprinkling two hits and two walks over 5.1 innings while striking out five to earn the win. With a runner on second and one out in the sixth, AJ Minter came in from the bullpen and induced a fly out and foul pop up to the catcher to end the inning. Parker Ray retired six of the seven batters he faced in 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and notching a strikeout. Jason Jester picked up his sixth save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Texas A&M (15-7) held Dallas Baptist to 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, including two strikeouts
The Aggies, who entered the season outscoring opponents 27-10 in the first inning of games, pounced in the opening frame again with two runs. With one out, Krey Bratsen drew a six-pitch walk and scored with two outs when Mitchell Nau lined a double down the leftfield line. Cole Lankford laced a single through the right side of the infield to plate Nau and stake the Aggies to a 2-0 lead.
Six different A&M hitters accounted for the Aggies’ six hits. Mikey Reynolds dropped a single underneath the glove of a sliding Patriots’ leftfielder to extend his hit streak to 21 games, tied with Ben Feltner (2007) for seventh place on A&M’s all-time list.
Dallas Baptist (11-10) used seven different pitchers in the game. Starter Blake Webster (1-1) was saddled with the loss, yielding two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one over 0.2 inning. Aaron Gilbreath was the first out of the bullpen, leading a corps that combined to allow just four hits over 7.1 innings of scoreless relief. Gilbreath worked 2.1 shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out three. Jay Calhooun, Caulin Cragle, Patrick Hicks, Cody Beam and Paul Voelker each worked one blank inning to keep the Patriots within striking distance.
Texas A&M returns to action on Friday when the Aggies travel to Oxford, Mississippi for a three-game series against the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the momentum heading into the contest with Ole Miss: “It’s important. We’ve won five in a row. We’ve got a tough challenge ahead of us, being on the road at Ole Miss. They might be the hottest team in the country right now. They’ve got a lot of their team back with a lot of talent. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
On the progress this team has made: “I think they’re just putting everything together. They understood what we did the first 18 games of the season and the challenges that we had. We were prepared going into this past weekend. We knew who our team was. It wasn’t anything new for us. The pitching we saw this past weekend, we had seen already a couple of times in our non-conference schedule. We were ready. The challenging non-conference schedule helped us for that.”
Sophomore First Basemen Cole Lankford
On the first-inning success: “I’m not sure what it is, but I really like it. It’s a lot easier to relax when we have our pitchers on the mound. To have Grayson throw the way he did it makes it really easy for us to relax at the plate. When I have the guys around me like I have, it makes it extremely easy to be confident.”
Freshman Pitcher Grayson Long
On Dallas Baptist: “That’s the best team I’ve faced this season. They had a great approach at the plate. They took pitches that were borderline. I don’t think they took any bad swings. We got ahead early and the bullpen came in and did what they needed to do.”
On his performance: “I felt like tonight was one of the best outings I’ve had. I was able to stay in command. I got behind a few hitters but was able to come back and get back ahead.”