COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior pitcher Ross Stripling tossed eight shutout innings to lift the No. 5 Texas A&M baseball team to a 4-0 victory over visiting Michigan State Saturday afternoon in front of a season-high 5,532 fans at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
The Aggie right-hander scattered just five hits en route to picking up his second victory on the mound this season, along the way striking out five and walking just two.
Freshman Daniel Mengden, pitching on back-to-back days for the first time in his Texas A&M career, record the game’s final three outs to help the Aggies improve to 10-1 on the season.
“This was definitely my best outing of the year, both by the way I felt and statistically,” Stripling said. “I had my changeup working today. They were free swinging and I got a lot of first pitch outs. I would’ve liked to have gone out there in the ninth and finished it, but with a high pitch count and it being early in the season, it was good to see Mengden out there and get him some work in. It was a good outing and a good win.”
At the plate, the Aggies seized control of the contest early by plating three runs on three hits in the bottom of the second. Senior Jacob House reached on an error to start the frame and was followed by junior left fielder Brandon Wood, who drew a walk.
Freshman designated hitter Chance Bolcerek attempted to move both runners into scoring position but instead reached first base on a perfectly placed bunt single. In the next at bat, sophomore catcher Troy Stein made the afternoon’s first impression on the scoreboard with a sac fly to right field.
Rookie second baseman Blake Allemand added an RBI on a fielder’s choice during the frame before junior right fielder Tyler Naquin made it 3-0 Aggies with a run-scoring infield single.
Michigan State starter Andrew Waszak (1-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season as he allowed three runs on four hits before exiting the game after the sixth.
“I was really proud of our guys at the plate,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We took 71 pitches from him (Waszak) through the first three innings. We had some competitive, hard-nosed at bats even though we weren’t able to knock him out of the game right away. He did a great job, but when you throw that many pitches through the first few innings, you’re not going to have a lengthy outing.”
The three-run cushion was more than enough for Stripling, who recorded his 23rd career victory to move into a tie for ninth place in Texas A&M history with Chris Russ (1998-01) and Ronnie Allen (1989-91).
With runs seemingly hard to come by on the windy afternoon, senior Matt Juengel added an insurance run for the Aggies with a two-out RBI single to right field in the bottom of the seventh. The run batted in was the Houston native’s team-leading 16th of the season.
The series concludes Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Texas A&M will send RHP Rafael Pineda (2-0, 1.29 ERA) to the mound to face MSU RHP Mike Theodore (0-1, 1.00 ERA).
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