COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the second straight Sunday, the Texas A&M Aggies capped off a series with a shutout, this time blanking the Sacramento State Hornets, 5-0, on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
With the victory, the Aggies claimed the three-game series and improved to 6-1 on the season.
Grayson Long (1-0) earned the victory, scattering five hits and one walk while striking out two over 7.0 innings. Long has worked 14.0 shutout innings in his two starts this season. Matt Kent retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning, including on strikeout. Jason Jester got back on the horse with a blank ninth, scattering two hits.
The Aggies broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the second inning. Hunter Melton was hit by a pitch to start the frame and Cole Lankford singled to rightfield to put two on. Mitchell Nau was unsuccessful in putting a sacrifice bunt down, with Melton getting retired at third base for the first out of the inning. Lankford moved to third on a fly out to rightfield by Nick Banks. Logan Taylor staked the Aggies to the early lead knocking Lankford in with a single to rightfield. Statum drew a six-pitch walk to reload the bases and JB Moss was hit by a pitch to knock in Nau for the 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M tacked on another run in the bottom of the third. Logan Nottebrok laced a single through the left side of the infield to start the frame, moved to second on a groundout by Melton and advanced to third on a passed ball. Lankford plated Nottebrok with a sacrifice fly to leftfield, giving the Maroon and White a 3-0 advantage.
The Aggies added a pair of insurance runs in the home half of the fifth. With one out, Nottebrok drew a four-pitch walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Melton grounded out to short for the first out of the inning, Lankford singled to rightfield to knock in Nottebrok. Lankford advanced to second on the unsuccessful throw home and scored when Nau deposited a double down the leftfield line for the 5-0 advantage.
Lankford led the Aggies at the plate on Sunday, going 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, one stolen base and one sacrifice fly. Nau batted 2-for-4 with one double, one run and one RBI.
Jared Paderez (0-1) was saddled with the loss for Sacramento State. He yielded three runs, two earned, on four hits and one walk over 4.0 innings.
Sacramento State (4-4) logged seven hits and one walk for the game. Clay Cederquist was the lone Hornet to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4. Sacramento State logged three doubles in the game, one apiece from Nathan Lukes, Will Soto and Ryan Locke.
Last Sunday, Long combined with Andrew Vinson and Jester to hold Northeastern to three hits in a 1-0 walk-off win.
Texas A&M returns to action on Tuesday when the Aggies host the Houston Baptist Huskies in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
On the offense...
“It seemed like we hit the ball hard at them all weekend long. It would’ve been easy for our hitters to slump their shoulders but they kept a good approach at the plate. We kept coming for eight strong innings today. I’m glad we won the series after dropping a heartbreaker on Friday night. We found a way. That’s the ultimate way to win a series is by dropping the game on Friday night and winning on Saturday and Sunday.”
On Logan Nottebrok...
“He’s an older guy. He’s got a lot of college at-bats. He doesn’t swing and miss a lot. He does a good job of staying off the breaking pitch in the dirt. He had some loud outs today.”
On the start of the season...
“I’d certainly like to be 7-0, but we’re playing good baseball. We’re making routine plays and throwing strikes on the mound. I think the offense is what I’ve been most impressed with. The guys that have gotten an opportunity to play have made the most of it. Two of our better players are just now getting back into the swing of things. Other guys have filled in and done a good job.”
On his performance...
“I started feeling a lot stronger in the fifth and the sixth. I definitely got more comfortable as the game went along.”
On his early struggles...
“I just kept telling myself ‘don’t walk this guy.’ I figured if they hit it hard right at people it would get the job done.”
On starting on Sundays…
“I love it. I get to sit and watch their offense for two days. I can see their tendencies. Daniel will sit me down and talk to me about what they did. Parker will do the same thing. I use that to my advantage.”
On coming back to win the series...
“It shows how tough we are as a team. We lost a close game on Friday and a great game last night. We played a great game today.”
On his offensive role...
“My role is to get on base, no matter what. I let the other guys hit me in.”
On Grayson Long’s performance…
“Grayson competed really well. He struggled a little bit with his command early on, but he pulled through when he needed to. The biggest thing for him is to compete. He’s got the tools. He just needs to go out and make the pitches.”