COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies scored five runs in the first two frames en route to a 6-0 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. With Wednesday evening’s win, the Aggies improve to 9-4 while the Tigers fall to 5-9.
Matt Kent (2-0) earned the victory for the Maroon and White, posting career-highs for strikeouts (nine) and innings pitched (6.0). Cole Lankford went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI to lead the A&M offense.
The Aggies jumped on Texas Southern starter Ryan Rios from the first at-bat. JB Moss drove an 0-2 pitch into the right-center gap for a leadoff single. Krey Bratsen was hit by pitch before Lankford grounded out to the right side to advance the runners. After Hunter Melton hit a comebacker to the pitcher for the second out, both runs scored after the Tigers first basemen was unable to handle Logan Nottebrok’s grounder, giving the Aggies the early edge. A&M has outscored opponents 12-0 in the opening frame this season.
A&M would tack on three additional runs in the bottom half of the second to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Nick Banks led off the frame with a four-pitch walk and the Tigers were plagued by a second error on a grounder by Ryne Birk. With two outs later in the frame, Bratsen reached base again without recording an at-bat, loading the bases with a walk. Lankford hit a line drive into the rightfield corner for a double to clear the bases.
The Maroon and White added an additional run in the bottom of the fourth after Nottebrok drew a walk with the bases loaded to push the lead to 6-0.
Kent baffled Tigers hitters for much of the night, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out nine over 6.0 innings. Corey Ray, Rex Hill and Mark Ecker each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to keep Texas Southern off the board.
Ryan Rios (2-1) took the loss for the Tigers after throwing 2.0 innings, giving up two hits and five runs.
Texas A&M will be in action again this weekend as it welcomes Louisiana Tech on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. First pitch on Friday is slated for 6:35 p.m. To learn more about the team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @Aggie_Baseball on Twitter.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Texas A&M Head Coach Rob Childress
On the team’s performance…
“I was really proud of our pitching. We played great defense behind our guys. We were very professional in our approach tonight. I thought we came out and took care of business.”
On Matt Kent…
“Matt Kent can flat-out pitch. He threw all four pitches for a strike tonight. He was out in front of every count. He didn’t give them any hope to get back into it.”
On hitting with two outs…
“We got some big hits. We put some balls in play with two outs. We put pressure on them. We were able to capitalize on those. Cole Lankford got a big hit that inning. We were able to go from there. Those three guys out of the bullpen, for not getting that much work so far this year, all came in and did a great job.”
On getting the win…
“It felt great to come out here and get another W in the win column. That’s the ultimate goal: try to get as many wins as possible.”
On the team’s performance…
“The team did awesome today. This was definitely an overall team win.”
On what was working for him…
“Early on I was able to locate the fastball. They were taking pitches early. As the game went on, they got more and more aggressive so we started throwing them in reverse. I was lucky enough for them to swing at a couple pitches out of the zone.”
On early run support…
“It makes it a lot easier to perform. You can be a little more risky with your pitch calls. With a lead, it makes it a lot easier on myself and on the defense because they know they can play well.”