COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M sophomore Daniel Mengden keyed a 3-1 win over Pepperdine on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Saturday evening to even the three-game series with the Waves.
Mengden (2-0) posted a career-high with eight strikeouts on the evening to earn the win. He yielded just one run on five hits over 7.0 innings. It matched his longest career outing.
The Houston native also went 2-for-4 with one triple and two RBI at the plate to spearhead the A&M offense.
The Aggies drew first blood in the home half of the second inning. With one out, Charlie Curl singled up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Jace Statum grounded out to third, Krey Bratsen staked A&M to a 1-0 lead lacing a single through the right side of the infield to knock in Curl.
Pepperdine (5-2) knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth. With one out, David Oppenheim bounced a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ranny Lowe. Hutton Moyer pushed Oppenheim across for the equalizer with a bloop single over a leaping second baseman and into centerfield.
Texas A&M (5-2) reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Bratsen wedged a ball between the third basemen and the foul line and then legged out a double to give the Aggies a runner in scoring position. Mikey Reynolds then singled on a shallow line drive to centerfield that wasn't quite deep enough to plate Bratsen, but a high throw to the cutoff man allowed Reynolds to advance to second on the error. After Blake Allemand hit a line drive back to the pitcher, Mengden stepped to the plate looking to help his own cause. Ahead in the count, 3-1, Mengden rattled a ball into the corner down the rightfield line for a bases-clearing triple to giving A&M the 3-1 lead.
Jason Jester closed out the game for his second save of the career. He retired six of the seven batters he faced, including two strikeouts, over 2.0 innings.
Corey Miller (1-1) was strapped with the loss for Pepperdine. He allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out four over 6.0 innings.
Bratsen went 2-for-4 with one double, one run, one stolen base and one RBI to bolster the A&M offensive arsenal.
The Aggies and Waves play the deciding game of the series on Sunday with a 1:05 pm first pitch at Blue Bell Park.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach Rob Childress
On Daniel Mengden's effort: He's a special player and he's starting to feel comfortable. He had a great freshman year and he's going to have a really good sophomore year. I really believe that. I thought we showed a lot of toughness bouncing back from the tough loss last night. All the runs we scored today were with two outs. We took the lead in the second and gave it right back in the fifth. Daniel helps himself out in the bottom half of the inning. He made it stand up. He pitched a scoreless seventh and then Jason Jester came in and gave us six outs.
On his performance today: It was a great day for me overall. We played great as a team. When we had our chances we struck. This is just a great overall team win.
On his performance at the plate today: Tonight was big time for my confidence. I have a lot more confidence this year than I did last year. I really need that right now. I don't care how I do personally, as long as we keep winning.
On his difference from last year: I'm seeing a lot better. I'm seeing the breaking ball a lot better. I'm able to see the spin on the ball. I can see the laces on the ball.