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A&M Rolls to 4-0 Start, Downs SFA 12-3

February 18, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
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(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies notched a season-high with 17 hits to score a 12-3 win over the Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks in non-conference baseball action Tuesday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

The Aggies reached double-digits in the run column for the third time on the young season, posting a season-high with the 12 runs on Tuesday.

Eleven different Aggies notched hits in the win. Patrick McLendon led the hit parade, going 4-for-6 with one run, one double and two RBI. Cole Lankford, who entered the game hitless in seven at-bats, went 2-for-4 with one home run, two runs and two RBI. JB Moss went 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBI and two stolen bases. Jace Statum also tacked on a pair of hits.

Texas A&M drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning. For the fourth time this season the Aggies put up four or more runs in an inning. McLendon started the rally by bouncing a slow roller down the third-base line for a leadoff single. A failed pickoff attempt sailed past the SFA first baseman allowing McLendon to move to second. Blake Allemand laced a single through the right side of the infield to push McLendon across for the 1-0 lead. Logan Nottebrok followed with a wall-banger to leftfield for a double, driving in Allemand. After Hunter Melton singled to leftfield and Cole Lankford drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, Troy Stein pushed one run across with a sacrifice fly and Nick Banks capped off the cavalcade of runs with a grounder to second base to knock in Melton for the 4-0 advantage.

Stephen F Austin showed signs of life in the top of the fourth. Ricardo Sanchez hit a leadoff triple to centerfield and scored when Joseph Olson bounced a single up the middle, closing the gap to 4-1. After Mackenzie Handel was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, Aggie starter Tyler Stubblefield got out of the jam with three strikeouts.

The Maroon and White reclaimed a four-run lead in the home half of the fourth. Moss hit a leadoff single and stole two bases to move 90 feet from home. McLendon placed a perfect squeeze bunt down the third-base line and ended up reaching base on an RBI single as the Aggies staked claim to a 5-1 lead.

The Lumberjacks chopped two runs off the margin in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Will Vest drew a seven-pitch walk. Matt Kent came in to relieve Stubblefield and picked off Vest for the second out of the inning. Matthew Dickey flared a single to centerfield and Sanchez singled to left field with Dickey moving to third on an error by the leftfielder. Olson knocked both runners in with a double, trimming the advantage to 5-3.

The Aggies immediately responded to an SFA rally once again, this time putting up four runs in the home half of the fifth. With one out, Cole Lankford gapped a single to left centerfield and Troy Stein reached on a fielding error by the ‘Jacks third baseman. After Chris Hassold game in from the bullpen to relieve SFA starter Kevin Bishop, Mitchell Nau loaded the bases with a pinch-hit single to centerfield. A balk allowed Lankford to score and Moss followed with a two-run single down the leftfield line to give A&M an 8-3 edge. McLendon put the exclamation point on the rally with a single to leftfield to knock in Moss.

A&M closed out the scoring with a three-run eighth inning. The frame featured a two-run home run by Lankford, who deposited a 0-2 offering into the Lumberjacks’ bullpen down the rightfield, and an RBI double by Jonathan Moroney.

In his first career start, Stubblefield did not work long enough to get the victory, but he was effective in 4.1 innings of work, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out eight. Kent (1-0) earned the win in relief. He allowed two runs on four hits while striking out one over 1.2 frames. Jason Freeman, AJ Minter and Ryan Hendrix each worked one scoreless frame to close out the game. Freeman fanned two of the three batters he faced in the seventh. Minter allowed one walk in the eighth. Hendrix scattered a hit and a walk, striking out one in the ninth.

Bishop (0-1) was saddled with the loss yielding seven runs, six earned, on nine hits and two walks while striking out two over 4.1 innings.

Olson accounted for all three of the Lumberjacks’ RBI, going 2-for-4 with a double. Sanchez also recorded multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored.

Texas A&M returns to action on Friday when the Aggies host the Sacramento State Hornets in a 6:30 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to start a three-game series.


TEXAS A&M QUOTES

Head coach Rob Childress
Overall thoughts...
“I was really impressed with our offense. We started the game with 10 incredible at-bats. It’s funny how the game of baseball goes. He’s (Tyler Stubblefield) 3-0 to their leadoff hitter and he comes back to get that guy out. If he doesn’t, they are probably off to the races and maybe scratch first. We scored for him in the first inning and allowed him to relax a little bit. I thought he spent an awful lot of emotion in the fourth inning and we weren’t able to get him through the fifth. I was disappointed in that for him, because he pitched so well. But, I thought our bullpen did a nice job. From an offensive standpoint it was very impressive, and it’s a tribute to our hitters and our coaches. Coach Sawyers, Coach Seely, and Coach Knight have done an amazing job preparing these guys. They didn’t quit. For eight innings they got after it offensively.”

On answering after the opposing team scores…
“That’s something that most impressive. They score and we come right back to score, both in the fourth and fifth inning. That’s a sign of a pretty good team when they can answer back after the other team scores.”


Junior shortstop Patrick McLendon
On the start to the season…
“It’s been a great start, especially offensively. We have come out swinging the bats really well. The one night we didn’t swing the bat well, our pitching picked us up. We’ve showed in all phases of the game we are going to be pretty solid.”

On replacing Mikey Reynolds…
“If Coach Childress puts me in the lineup, I am going to do my best to get the job done. I know Mikey being a high draft pick and an All-American it is big shoes to fill. But I am going to go out there and give it my best every night, and hopefully get the results that I want.”


Freshman starting pitcher Tyler Stubblefield
On the start…
“It’s a great feeling to go out and show everyone what I have. Having a great team behind my back, who goes out and puts up four runs in the first inning, makes me more comfortable and gives me more confidence to pitch.”

On concentrating on one sport now…
“It gives my arm a rest, not coming out of football. My arm is healthier now, and I am more relaxed and more focused.”

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