COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies had their most productive game on offense in the young season with 12 hits, seven walks and six stolen bases in a 9-2 win over the Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks in non-conference action Tuesday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Mikey Reynolds marshaled the Aggie hit parade going 4-for-5 with one run, two RBI and three stolen bases. Charlie Curl was 2-for-3 with one run, two doubles, three RBI and one stolen base. Troy Stein went 3-for-5 and Daniel Mengden added two hits and a pair of walks.
After a shaky first inning, Corey Ray (1-0) dulled the Lumberjacks' axes with a career-high eight strikeouts for the win. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks over 5.1 innings.
Texas A&M was solid in relief again. Matt Kent got the only batter he faced to ground into an inning-ending double play, the second time he has accomplished the feat this season. Jason Freeman retired all three batters he faced in the seventh inning, including one strikeout. Parker Ray pitched two shutout innings to end the game, scattering one hit and one walk while striking out two.
The Lumberjacks drew first blood in the top of the first inning. Ricardo Sanchez hit a leadoff double to leftfield and eventually scored on a pair of wild pitches by Corey Ray.
The Aggies got runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but weren't able to break the scoring seal until the bottom of the fourth. Stein laced a single to the gap in right centerfield to start the frame and Brandon Wood was hit by a pitch. A&M loaded the bases when SFA starting pitcher dropped Blake Allemand's sacrifice bunt attempt for the error. Curl roped a single to centerfield to drive in a pair of runs and stake the Aggies to a 2-1 lead. Reynolds capped off the rally with a single to centerfield, driving in Allemand for the 3-1 advantage.
Stephen F Austin (0-4) shaved a run off the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Sanchez doubled again to start a frame, this time to the wall in right centerfield. With one out, Hunter Dozier plated Sanchez with a single to centerfield, cutting the margin to 3-2.
Texas A&M (3-1) responded immediately with four runs in the home half of the sixth. Wood and Allemand were both issued walks to start the frame. An error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Curl allowed Wood to come around to score. With one out, Reynolds and Krey Bratsen each bounced a single through the left side of the infield to drive in a run apiece for the 6-1 edge. After Mengden received a base on balls to load the bases, Cole Lankford was hit by a pitch to cap off the cavalcade of runs.
The Aggies tacked on insurance runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Curl deposited a double down the rightfield line and Jace Statum drew a walk. The pair pulled off a double-steal and Curl scored when the throw to third base sailed down the leftfield line. Curl was issued a bases-loaded walk in the eighth for the game's final run.
Sanchez led SFA's offense going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.
Cameron Gann (0-1) was strapped with the loss for the Lumberjacks. He yielded three runs, two earned, on seven hits and one walk while striking out three over 5.0 innings.
Texas A&M returns to action on Wednesday when the Aggies host the Texas Southern Tigers in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Texas A&M Baseball Quotes
Head Coach Rob Childress
Opening Statement: I’m proud of the way we played tonight. Last year, if Corey was out there, he probably would have been sitting by us in the first or second inning. He found a way to keep it at one run when it was spinning out of control. He settled down and was dominant. He has as good of stuff as anybody on our pitching staff. Tonight he went out and proved to himself what kind of pitcher he can be. We’re counting on him in a big way.
On Corey Ray: He is a guy that’s vying for an opportunity to be a weekend starter. Last year as a freshman he had the same kind of stuff. He just didn’t see the same thing in the mirror that we see. He’s that talented. Hopefully tonight is something he can build on.
On Mikey Reynolds: He had a great night with four hits. Some other guys are starting to get themselves going too. We have some good hitters up and down the lineup. We’re going to grow for the next couple of months. I think you won’t see more of a finished product until April. We’re throwing strikes, making routine plays and having competitive at-bats. We’re going to continue to get better. Mikey, maybe for the first time he’s been at A&M, is 100% healthy. His arm’s healthy. Nothing’s nagging him. He’s flying around the baseball field having fun.
Shortstop Mikey Reynolds
On his 4-for-5 performance: I’m feeling good. The biggest thing is getting my timing down. We’ve been hitting the ball well.
On Charlie Curl: Statistics weren’t there earlier in the year, but he’s had quality at-bats. He’s moved runners. It was just a matter of time before he got his hits. You saw that today.
On Corey Ray: Everything works for him when he throws his pitches for strikes. He’s almost unhittable. We’ve got to be able to score runs for Corey and help him believe in himself.