COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Freshman catcher Mitchell Nau drove in four runs during his first career start Sunday afternoon on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park as the No. 4 Texas A&M baseball team clinched the series win over Holy Cross with a 8-2 victory.
"I was real proud of our team today," Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. "Rafael got it back together and had a great start. Offensively, I was real proud of some freshman that got into the game today and I thought they played well. Blake Allemand, Chance Bolcerek, and Mitchell Nau all did a fantastic job today, as well as the freshman on the mound. We had five or six freshman in the game today and I thought they did a pretty great job."
After not scoring in the first inning for the first time this season, the Aggies fell behind in the top of second when Holy Cross left fielder Chris Sintetos connected on a towering two-run home run off A&M starter Rafael Pineda.
Following the long ball, Pineda (2-0) settled down to turn his second straight quality start by throwing seven strong innings. The right-hander was charged with just the two runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out eight in his second career start.
After falling behind the Aggie bats responded in the home half of the second by putting up five runs, the most in a single inning this season.
Junior left fielder Brandon Wood started the frame with a walk on a full-count pitch and was quickly joined on base by Bolcerek, who singled to right field. Nau initiated the scoring as he doubled off the wall in right center to drive in both runners, narrowly missing his first home run of the year by a matter of just a few feet.
"It felt good getting the nod; to be a part of the team and help us win," Nau said. "Coach Childress came out with a great game plan and I think the scoreboard says it all. Pineda threw a great game. He left one ball up and got punished for it, but other than that he threw a near perfect game."
Sophomore centerfielder Krey Bratsen was hit by a pitch in the next at bat after Nau's double and Allemand joined him on base with a bunt single to load the bases for shortstop Mikey Reynolds, who drew a walk to plate another run.
The free pass chased Holy Cross starter Nate Walker (0-1), who lasted only one inning and was tagged with five earned runs.
Nau added sac flies in the third and eighth innings sandwiched around an RBI safety squeeze executed at the plate in the seventh by Juengel.
"He (Nau) had a great fall for us," Childress added. "He hasn't felt right with his swing, but I think today showed what he can do. We've been able to get him into the game, but we haven't been able to get him a start. I thought he did an excellent job both at the plate and behind the plate defensively."