ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas A&M Aggies snapped a three-game losing streak, toppling the UT Arlington Mavericks 5-4 at Globe Life Park, formerly Rangers Ballpark, on Tuesday evening.
The win was highlighted by the outing of freshman Tyler Stubblefield (2-1) who worked 5.2 scoreless frames, scattering five hits and one walk while striking out nine. For the game, Stubblefield recorded three strikeouts with a runner on third base.
Texas A&M (8-4) pounced on the Mavericks for a run in the top of the second inning. With one-out, Cole Lankford hit a wall-banger to rightfield for a stand-up double. He moved to third on a groundout back to the pitcher by Troy Stein and scored when Nick Banks beat out the throw to first on a slow roller to shortstop for an infield single.
The Aggies tacked on a run in the top of the sixth inning. Krey Bratsen bounced a single through the left side of the infield to start the frame, moved to second on a wild pitch with one out and advanced to third on a grounder to short by Logan Tayor. Logan Nottebrok roped a ball to the hot corner for a single, scoring Bratsen for the 2-0 advantage.
The Maroon and White inflated the cushion to 5-0 in the top of the seventh inning. Lankford drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame and Stein laced a single through the left side of the inning to chase UTA starter Brad Vachon from the game. With Chase Weaver coming in from the bullpen, JB Moss loaded the bases with a pinch-hit bunt single and Mitchell Nau clubbed a pinch-hit double over the leftfielder’s head to plate two for the 4-0 lead. With one out, Blake Allemand lofted a fly ball to leftfield to knock in Moss on the sacrifice fly and the five-run lead.
The Mavericks had numerous scoring opportunities go awry. In the first inning, Matt Shortall hit a two-out triple, but Stubblefield fanned Greg McCall to get out of the frame.
In the fourth Shortall singled up the middle, moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by McCall, but Stubblefield struck out Justin Copeland and JM Twichell to escape unscathed.
In the fifth, UTA had runners on the corners with one out, but Derek Miller bounced to Nottebrok at third and he gunned out Levi Scott at home. Stubblefield ended the rally with a strikeout of Travis Sibley.
UT Arlington loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh with two singles and a walk off Ryan Hendrix, but Jason Freeman came in from the bullpen and induced a line-out double play by Miller and a fly out by pinch-hitter Brandon Vinyard.
After getting a runner to third in four different innings, UTA finally broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the eighth inning. Shortall hit a single back up the middle off Freeman and McCall drove a 1-1 offering over the rightfield fence for a two-run home run, cutting the A&M lead to 5-2. It marked the first home run Aggie pitchers have yielded in 2014.
The Aggies staved off a Mavericks rally in the ninth inning. With Andrew Vinson on to nail down his first career save. Pinch-hitter Darien McLemore hit a single through the right side of the infield to start the inning and Peter Cuomo reached on an error by Allemand at second. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Vinson induced a pop up from Miller for the first out of the inning. Jackson Morris hit a fading liner to leftfield that avoided the mitt of a diving Jace Statum, resulting in an RBI double. Shortall cut the Aggie lead to 5-4 with a sacrifice fly, but Vinson got McCall swinging for the final out of the game.
Texas A&M had seven different players account for the seven hits.
Vachon (1-3) was saddled with the loss, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three over 6.0 innings.
UTA (3-8) was paced by Shortall who went 3-for-4 with one triple, one run and one RBI. McCall went 2-for-5 with one run, one home run and two RBI. Cuomo added two hits.
The Aggies return to action on Wednesday when they host the Texas Southern Tigers in a 6:35 pm on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress:
Overall thoughts on the game: Our guys showed a lot of courage tonight. I’m proud of our team. We got that dirty taste out of our mouth from the weekend. Winning is hard. Losing is easy. All you have to do is put on these beautiful jerseys that adidas gives us and you can lose. It’s hard to win. We had some guys come off the bench and out of the bullpen to help us win today. UTA wouldn’t go away. You have to give them a lot of credit. I’m proud of our bunch.
On Andrew Vinson’s first save opportunity: He hasn’t performed in this role yet, but he’s been in a lot of tough spots for us already this season. And he may be our MVP out of the bullpen. He took the ball after pitching two innings on Sunday. I couldn’t be more proud of him. We could’ve played a little better defense behind him.
On Tyler Stubblefield’s performance: He was able to keep zeroes on the board and allowed us to score first. He’s a big strong physical kid and the stage is not too big for him. He goes out and pumps strikes. His secondary stuff, to me, wasn’t as good as it had been his last two starts but he really got the fastball going and had a nice start for us.