COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies started quickly and never looked back as it downed Prairie View A&M Panthers, 8-2, in non-conference action Tuesday night on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
The Aggies sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, scoring six runs on four hits. Mikey Reynolds got the inning started with a leadoff walk, continuing his streak of safely reaching base in every game this season. With Reynolds on first, Krey Bratsen reached on a throwing error by the pitcher when Sean Hollis (1-1) couldn't get the out at first. With runners on first and third and one out, Daniel Mengden laced a single through the left side of the infield to score Reynolds. Jonathan Moroney pulled a double down the leftfield line to plate Bratsen and push the lead to 2-0.
With two runners in scoring position and still one out, Cole Lankford stroked a triple to deep right-centerfield, scoring Mengden and Moroney . The Aggies would cap off the scoring in the first when Mitchell Nau hit his first career home run, a two-run bomb over the leftfield wall to give the Aggies a comfortable 6-0 advantage. Mengden, Moroney, Lankford and Nau would hit for the natural cycle (1B, 2B, 3B, HR) over four consecutive at-bats.
The Panthers were able to battle back and cut the deficit to 6-1 in the top of the fifth. With runners on the corners, Grayson Long threw over to first in an attempt to pick-off the runner. During the 1-3-6 rundown, the runner on third broke for the plate to put the Panthers on the board.
The Aggies would get that run back in the bottom of the fifth. The Maroon-and-White got back-to-back singles up the middle by Moroney and Lankford followed by back-to-back sacrifice bunts by Nau and Charlie Curl to inflate the Aggie cushion to 7-1.
Prairie View A&M cut the lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth. Brett Valley drew a leadoff walk from reliever Rafael Pineda and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brad Benes. With two outs, Greg Salcido singled to centerfield to knock Valley home.
Texas A&M increased the lead to 8-2 with a run in the home half of the eighth. Chance Bolcerek was issued a base on balls to lead off the inning and moved to second on a balk. Mikey Reynolds beat out an infield single to stretch his career-long hit streak to 13 games, but Bolcerek was unable to advance to third. The Aggies pulled off the double steal to put both runners in scoring position and Blake Allemand plated Bolcerek with a groundout to second base.
Moroney led the Aggies at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one double, two runs and one RBI. Mengden, Lankford and Nau each logged two hits and had one extra-base hit apiece with a double, triple and home run, respectively.
Long (2-0) struck out a career-high eight batters on his way the victory. The Mont Belvieu, Texas native allowed one run over 5.0 innings, scattering three hits and three walks in the winning effort.
Pineda pitched 1.2 innings, giving up one run on two hits and one walk while striking out two. AJ Minter entered the game with two outs in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs. He forced Valley to hit a comebacker right to the mound, which Minter easily tossed to first to end the inning.
Zach Brashear and Andrew Vinson each worked a scoreless frame to close out the game. Vinson struck out three batters of the four batters he faced in the ninth.
Hollis (1-1) was saddled with the loss. He allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out four over 4.2 innings.
Salcido paced the Panthers, going 2-for-4 with one RBI.
The Aggies return to action Friday when they travel to southern California for a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton. The first game of the series is slated for 9 pm central.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On Mitchell Nau's home run: "I thought there was no way a ball was going to get out of here tonight with the way the wind was blowing. Mikey hit a ball the next inning that was hit really well and it wasn't even close. That just shows you how well Mitchell hit that ball. He put a charge into it."
On Mikey Reynolds' start to the season: "We're very fortunate to have him back as a senior after he had an opportunity to sign. It's a good thing for us that he did come back because he's been the one constant for us. He's been through an awful lot. He had major elbow surgery over the summer and then when he's doing soft-toss, he gets hit in the face, causing him to miss the fall.
Sophomore outfielder Jonathan Moroney
On his start to the year: "The coaches put me in a big position. I just come out here and show them what I can do. They've been putting me in the four and five hole. That just shows that they have confidence in me. I've been coming out and playing my best. There's nothing that can replace that feeling of coming out here and performing to the greatest of your abilities in front of all these fans."