COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the second straight day the No. 8 Texas A&M baseball team got a complete game from its starting pitcher as redshirt sophomore Rafael Pineda tossed a gem Sunday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to lead the Aggies over Kansas State 7-2.
“They (KSU) have a good lineup and a lot of seniors in that lineup,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “It’s a tribute to Ross Stripling and Rafael Pineda and how well they pitched, especially the last two days being in a hitters park with the wind blowing out. It’s very, very impressive. It’s important, when you look at Sunday starters, to get guys that can throw strikes. Guys that make the other teams earn everything they get and not allow free passes. He (Pineda) has done a good job for us thus far. We left some runs out there today with a couple of runners on third with less than two outs, but I’m still proud of our approach. The guys are doing a good job one through nine of getting base hits and driving in runs.”
Pineda (3-0) scattered eight hits during his complete-game effort, allowing just one earned run while notching three punch outs to help the Aggies take the series and improve to 16-5 overall with a 2-1 mark in Big 12 play.
“It was big for us,” Pineda said. “We needed to get off to a good start in conference play. Winning the opening series definitely helped us do that. It was a lot of fun being able to attack those guys; they’re a great hitting team. Every pitcher wants to go out and throw a perfect game, but the more important thing is getting the win.”
Offensively, Pineda was supported by multi-hit games from junior left fielder Brandon Wood and freshman third baseman Blake Allemand, who each notched a pair of base hits in the victory.
Wood drove in the Aggies’ opening run of the contest during the bottom of the second as he tripled to the wall in center field to plate designated hitter Matt Juengel, who walked with one out in the frame.
Texas A&M took control with a four-run bottom of the third that featured a two-run single from senior first baseman Jacob House as well as RBI knocks from Juengel and Allemand.
After the Wildcats scratched to within 5-2 with single runs in the top of the fourth and fifth, the Aggies regained their five-run cushion in a big way during the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on in the frame, sophomore catcher Troy Stein got a hold of a 2-2 pitch from KSU reliever Jared Moore and deposited the offering over the wall in left for his second career home run.
Following the victory, Stein praised Pineda and Saturday’s winning pitcher Ross Stripling, who also tossed a complete game victory for A&M.
“It was great way to end a weekend,” Stein said. “We didn’t sweep them, but to be able to come out and win the next two after what they did to us on Friday night is huge. It’s really easy when you have Ross Stripling and Rafael Pineda come out and throw strikes from the word go and be able to get guys out. It’s easy and it’s really fun when you have those guys on the mound.”
The Aggies hit the road for the first time this season on Tuesday when they make the short trip down to the Bayou City to face the University of Houston at Cougar Field.