COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior Matt Juengel’s three-run double in the bottom of the eighth was the difference Sunday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park as the seventh-ranked Texas A&M baseball team defeated San Diego State 4-2 to complete a three-game sweep of the Aztecs.
After being honored in a pregame ceremony, Juengel and his fellow Aggie seniors were the driving force during Sunday’s victory. Jacob House tied the game with a seventh-inning RBI single, while Estevan Uriegas (4-0) notched the victory on the mound and Scott Arthur singled and scored a run.
“We had to fight for it all day long,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We had some big at-bats; big pitches made by seniors.”
The lone senior not to play during Sunday’s contest was pitcher Ross Stripling, who tossed the 11th no-hitter in A&M baseball history a day earlier.
With the victory the Aggies improved to 37-14 on the season as they continue to pad their post season resume with hopes of hosting a regional on their home field.
“Their pitching did a great job all weekend long,” Childress added. “You’ve got to tip your hat to them. We were very fortunate to not just win the series, but to sweep it. They’re awfully young with 15 or 16 freshman. They’re going to be really good. We definitely had to fight for every out and every win we got this weekend. Had we not shown up ready to play any day this weekend we would’ve lost. I’m really proud of our team.”
San Diego State (22-30) fired the first salvo of the afternoon, scoring during the top of the fifth on an RBI ground out off the bat of SDSU second baseman Tim Zier to take a 1-0 lead.
The run was the only tally against the ledger of A&M starter Rafael Pineda, who allowed just the one run on eight hits during 6.2 innings of work on the mound.
With their offense unable to get a rally started during the first six innings of the contest, the Aggies got the big hit from House in the bottom of the seventh. The Mansfield, Texas, native tied the game at 1-1 by plating Juengel, who had walked during the previous at bat, with a single to right center.
After redshirt freshman Jason Freeman got the final out of the top of the seventh and the first out of the eighth, Uriegas came on for his 93rd career appearance in an Aggie uniform. The Round Rock, Texas, native recorded a strikeout and a fly out, sending the game to the bottom of the eighth with the sides knotted at a run apiece.
Sophomore center fielder Krey Bratsen kick started the A&M eighth inning rally with a single to center before stealing second base. Arthur followed by drawing a walk and Tyler Naquin was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Juengel.
The Houston native drove the full-count offering from SDSU reliever Ethan Miller down the chalk of the third base line and into the corner to clear the bases and put the Aggies up 4-1.
“I just really wanted to come through for the team and get us a win,” Juengel said. “We really needed to sweep San Diego State. It wasn’t pretty, but we ended up getting it done… [Senior Day] was great. I remember my sophomore year watching Joe Patterson perform on Senior Day, I wanted to follow in his footsteps and do a great job for my team”
Junior reliever Kyle Martin allowed two hits and a run in the top of the ninth but finished the contest for his fifth save of the season.
Texas A&M baseball is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Texas State in its final home game of the regular season.