COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies opened the 2014 campaign with a 10-2 victory over the Northeastern Huskies on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Friday evening.
In front of 5,506 fans in attendance for the season opener, Logan Nottebrok led the Aggie offense going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and three RBI in his Aggie debut and Daniel Mengden equaled a career-high with 11 strikeouts to earn the win on the mound.
Nottebrok, a transfer from Temple College, led an Aggie arsenal that logged 12 hits, including three extra-base knocks on the evening. Blake Allemand went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI and Troy Stein hit 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Mengden (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while recording his 11 strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Tyler Stubblefield scattered two hits and struck out one in two innings of relief and Ryan Hendrix closed out the game by striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning.
The Aggies took advantage of a Northeastern error to draw first blood with three runs in the bottom of the first. Huskies’ shortstop Jason Vosler dropped an infield fly by Patrick McLendon to start the frame. Allemand followed with a single to the gap in left centerfield and Nottebrok drove in both runners with a double down the leftfield as A&M staked claim to a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Stein bounced a single up the middle to send home Nottebrook for the three-run advantage.
Northeastern cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the second inning. With one out, Brad Burcroff singled up the middle and Joey Scambia added a two-out single to centerfield, putting a pair of runners on base. Josh Treff hit a double down the leftfield line to knock in both the runners, trimming the lead to one run.
The Maroon and White blew the game open with five runs in the fourth inning. Nick Banks hit a leadoff single and Jace Statum followed with a double down the rightfield line to put two runners in scoring position. McLendon knocked Statum home with an infield single and Allemand scored Statum with a fielder’s choice groundout to first base. After Nottebrok and Mitchell Nau drew walks to load the bases, Cole Lankford drove in Allemand with a sacrifice fly and Stein gave the Aggies an 8-2 lead with a single up the middle. The final run scored on an error by Northeastern second baseman Michael Foster on a grounder by Ryne Birk, giving A&M a 9-2 cushion.
The Aggies closed out the scoring in the seventh. Ronnie Gideon drew a pinch-hit walk, JB Moss reached on an infield single and Statum drew a walk to load the bases. After McLendon popped up to first base, Allemand plated Gideon with a sacrifice fly for the 10-2 lead.
Foster was the lone Huskie to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 on the evening.
Huskies’ starter Nick Berger was saddled with the loss. He allowed nine runs, six earned, on nine hits and three walks while striking out one over 3.2 innings of work.
Texas A&M and Northeastern return to action on Saturday with a 2:05 pm start on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Sunday’s game time has been moved to 12:05 pm due to changes in the Huskies travel back to Boston.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
Thoughts on the game...
"Daniel Mengden fought a little bit. You have to give those hitters credit. I thought his last two innings were just outstanding. From an offensive standpoint, I thought we were tough to put away all night long. We had six free bases to only two strikeouts. We kept coming with a great approach all night long. We were able to get some of the younger guys and newcomers on the field tonight. I thought they all held their own and competed at a very high level."
On Daniel Mengden...
"Daniel's last two innings were outstanding from a command standpoint. He's the guy leading us into the season. There's no doubt in my mind he was amped up and he had every right to be. I'm proud of the freshmen that came behind him. Once he got through the fifth, I knew I was going to go back to him in the sixth. For a while I was hoping we could get him through the fifth, but he left feeling good about his outing."
On the crowd...
"The guys played well. They played hard. The atmosphere and the crowd was wonderful. There was a wall of people all the way around the stadium. You can't ask for anything better. We're very thankful for all the fans who came out and make Olsen Field what it is."
Junior pitcher Daniel Mengden
On the crowd...
"We were all energized having a great crowd on opening day. We had great weather too which was a blessing."
On the gameplan...
"We attacked them from the word go. Coach Childress wants us to pitch ahead and let our defense play behind us. I had a good fastball/slider mix. They looked like they were having a little bit of a guessing game trying to jump on the fastball. I mixed in some sliders and changeups. It ended up working out for us."
Junior third baseman Logan Nottebrok
On starting for A&M on opening day...
"I was really excited coming into it. This was my third opening day with my third different school. I had some jitters. I just went up there and played to the best of my ability that God gave me."
"This was something else. I wasn't nervous by it. I thought coming in, I would be a little nervous."
On getting his first hit in an Aggie uniform...
"Getting the first hits and making the first play are the hardest ones to get when you're playing this game. You just have to keep grinding and making sure you're making all the routine plays. If you play with confidence and hit the ball hard somewhere, good things will happen."
Junior second baseman Blake Allemand
On getting a hit in his first two at-bats after the slump to start last season...
"It was tough last year. It got more and more frustrating as the games went on. I told the guys if I got a hit in my first at-bat this year I would ask for the ball as a keepsake. I was relieved. It's a new year. We have a new mindset and a new attitude. It's a whole new team. This was a good start and a good win."
On the potential of the offense...
"We've been swinging the bats well since the fall. We have a pretty good hitting team. Seeing everyone come out and hit the ball like that tonight was awesome. I think we can expect some big things out of this lineup this year."