COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies scored double-digits for the second consecutive game as the Maroon and White logged an 11-2 win over the Northeastern Huskies on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Saturday afternoon.
It marked the first time the Aggies scored double-digit runs in back-to-back games since 2011 when A&M beat Missouri 10-9 in the final game of the Big 12 Championship (May 29) and topped Wright State 11-0 in the first game of the NCAA College Station Regional (June 3).
J.B. Moss highlighted the contest with his first career home run, a solo shot to start the eighth inning, and more importantly, robbing Northeastern of a pair of potential run scoring extra-base hits with his play in rightfield, including gloving a sure three-run home run over the short fence in front of the Huskies’ bullpen.
The Aggies logged 10 hits, including three of the extra-base variety and added four walks and three hit batsmen. Patrick McLendon, Hunter Melton and Mitchell Nau each recorded multiple hits. McLendon went 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. Melton went 2-for-4 with two runs, one double and three RBI. Nau batted 2-for-5 with two RBI. Troy Stein added three RBI.
The Huskies pounced on the Aggies for a run in the top of the third inning. Sean Lyons singled to centerfield with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs and scored on a single to rightfield by Jason Vosler for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies responded in the home half of the third inning, scoring two runs without recording a hit. Jace Statum was issued a leadoff walk and McLendon was hit by a pitch to spark the rally. Blake Allemand pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Logan Nottebrok was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Melton drew a five-pitch walk to push Statum across for the equalizer and, after Nau struck out looking, Stein was hit by a pitch to send McLendon across for the go-ahead run as the Aggies staked claim to a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies threatened to tie the game in the fourth, but Moss made the first of his two spectacular plays for the game, robbing Joey Scambia of an extra-base hit. With Connor Lyons on second following a leadoff single and groundout by Brad Burcroff, Scambia drove an 0-1 offering deep to right field, but the mercurial Moss made the catch in full stride just steps from the outfield fence. Lyons tagged up and moved to third on the play, but Aggie starter Parker Ray struck out Gabe Levanti to end the frame.
For the second consecutive game, A&M created separation with a five-run fourth inning. Moss reached on an error by Northeastern third baseman Levanti to start the frame. Statum followed with a bunt single and the Moss and Statum pulled off the double steal to put two in scoring position. McLendon gapped a single to right centerfield to knock in both runners for the 4-1 lead. With one out, Nottebrok drew a four-pitch walk and Melton bounced a single up the middle to score McLendon. Stein completed the cavalcade of runs with a two-run double, scoring Melton and Nottebrok, to extend the Aggie advantage to 7-1.
Moss once again kept Northeastern off the scoreboard in the fifth inning. With two runners on and one out, Jason Vosler launched a 1-2 pitch deep to right field. Moss got on his horse sprinted to the short wall in front of the Northeastern bullpen and used full extension to snatch the ball from the jaws of homer. The play kept three runs off the scoreboard and following a walk to Rob Fonseca, Parker Ray induced a groundout by Connor Lyons to end the inning.
A&M put the game out of reach with four runs in the eighth inning. Moss accounted for the Aggies’ first home run of the season, sending a first-pitch offering over the leftfield fence for a leadoff dinger.
Disorientation by the Northeastern defense allowed the Aggies to score the next three runs. With one out, McLendon reached on an infield single and Allemand drew a five-pitch walk. Nottebrok bounced into what looked like an inning-ending double play to shortstop, but Huskie second baseman Michael Foster kept the offering at the bag and appeared headed for the dugout as though he thought the inning was over. The Aggies made the Huskies pay for the mental misstep as Melton plated one run with a ground-rule double to centerfield and Nau followed with a two-run single to balloon the lead to 11-1.
The Huskies scored a run in the ninth with singles by Sean Lyons and pinch-hitter Shane Allen and an RBI groundout by Foneseca.
Parker Ray (1-0) earned the win for the Aggies. He allowed just one run on six hits and two walks while striking out seven over 5.0 innings.
Veterans Corey Ray, Ty Schlottmann and Andrew Vinson combined to work three innings of scoreless relief. Corey Ray scattered one hit and two walks while striking out 1.1 innings, Schlottmann retired the only batter he faced and Vinson struck out three of four batters in 1.1 innings. Freshman Mark Ecker worked the final inning, allowing one run on two hits.
Sean Lyons led the Northeastern hitters going 3-for-5 with two runs. Connor Lyons batted 2-for-5 as the only other Huskie with multiple hits in the contest.
The loss was hung on James Mulry (0-1) for the Huskies. He yielded seven runs, four earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out two over 3.1 innings.
The Aggies and Huskies wrap up the three-game series on Sunday with a 12:05 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the performance of the pitching staff...
"Parker Ray wasn't that sharp tonight but I thought he battled well. Corey Ray got himself out of jam. Andrew Vinson was outstanding. We were able to extend the lead in the eighth."
On the depth and competition for starting spots...
"That's what we want. Competition makes the team better. As long as we're winning, everyone's going to be in a good mood. There are still some other guys that haven't gotten into the game yet who are good players. We're going to have to find a spot for them. I've been very proud of what this team has done the last two days. Northeastern had several opportunities today to grab the lead and seize the momentum. We didn't let them do it. The plays the defense made tonight really helped us out."
On the depth of this team...
"Whenever you get put in the lineup this year, it's a privilege. You've got to do what you've got to do to stay in. We've got a lot of guys this year that can swing the bat. It's a good think. It puts pressure on everyone else to strive to be better."
On the pitching staff...
"It all starts on with those guys on the mound. Daniel and Parker did an amazing job these last two days. Hopefully Grayson can do the same thing tomorrow. Those guys set the tone for us."
On the two spectacular catches in the outfield...
"Coach preaches on defense. Making a big play with my glove means a lot more to me than hitting a solo shot."
On the depth of this team...
"Coach Childress says we're as deep here as we've ever been. That's a testament to Coach Seely and the guys that recruit here. It's going to be a special year."