COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior first baseman Jacob House and junior right fielder Tyler Naquin each a enjoyed three-hit night at the plate as the No. 5 Texas A&M baseball team defeated No. 11 Cal State Fullerton 6-1 Friday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park
“I was really proud of our offense tonight,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “I thought our guys had a great approach of hitting the baseball. We came up big and were able to score four runs with two outs. I think we had 14 or 15 gritty, tough at bats.”
The victory was the Aggies’ eighth in a row and their first over a ranked team this season helping them improve their overall record to 13-1 on the year. With only one loss during its first 14 games, Texas A&M is off to its best start since 2007 when the Aggies began the year 15-1.
The Aggies wasted no time jumping out to a lead on the scoreboard as senior first baseman Jacob House made it 1-0 Aggies in the bottom of the first with a run-scoring single up the middle off Titan starter Dylan Floro (1-2).
During the bottom of the second sophomore centerfielder Krey Bratsen kick started another Aggie rally with a leadoff bunt single that pushed his season-best hitting streak up to six games. After Bratsen stole second, freshman second baseman Blake Allemand brought Bratsen home with a single through the right side.
Allemand was also able to take second base on a steal and after advancing to third came home on a sac fly off the bat of Tyler Naquin. Senior third baseman Matt Juengel made it 4-0 A&M with a single up the middle.
Texas A&M starter Michael Wacha (3-0) was steady during his fourth start of the season, keeping the Titans out of the hit column until two outs in the top of the fourth. The right-hander came back to the mound for the top of the sixth after a rain delay of 1:06 prior to the bottom of the fifth inning. He finished the night with eight strikeouts, while yielding only one unearned run on two hits to pick up his third win of the season.
“I thought he (Wacha) was as good as he’s been this year,” Childress added. “He’s had some great performances so far, but I think tonight was definitely his best night. He commanded his fastball, his changeup and his breaking ball the second and third time through the lineup to prevent them from bunting for a hit. He was still doing great even when we sent him out there in the sixth inning (after the rain delay). We were able to get him up over a hundred pitches and we were able to hand it over to the bullpen. Those three guys came out and did the same thing we’ve asked of them all year: come out and throw strikes.”
Junior shortstop Mikey Reynolds helped the Aggies put up two insurance runs during the home half of the eighth inning by collecting a two-out RBI double and coming home to score himself in the next at bat on a single by Naquin.
Texas A&M’s bullpen was solid in relief of Wacha, holding the Titans at bay with three scoreless innings to conclude the contest.
The series continues Saturday at 2:05 p.m. as the Aggies send right-hander Ross Stripling (2-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound to face Cal State Fullerton lefty (1-0, 2.77 ERA).