Senior first baseman Jacob House homered for the second straight day and senior
pitcher Ross Stripling tossed seven strong innings Saturday night on Olsen
Field at Blue Bell Park as the No. 5 Texas A&M baseball team defeated
Illinois-Chicago 9-2 in front of 4,002 fans.
Aggies improved to 2-0 on the young season and will now aim for a sweep in Sunday's
series finale, which is scheduled for a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.
who plated the Aggies' first two runs of the season with a two-run homer during
the first inning of the series opener, duplicated the feat on Saturday. With
the Aggies already up by a run, House took a 1-0 pitch from UIC pitcher Matt
Salemi high over the wall in right field. The blast was the fifth career long
ball for the Mansfield, Texas, product who has six RBI in the Aggies' first two
to the home run, the bottom of the first frame saw a scary moment as a
screaming line drive off the bat of junior right fielder Tyler Naquin hit UIC
starter Charlie Weinberg (0-1) in the head. The right-hander remained on his
feet as he was assisted by athletic trainers from both teams and after being
examined by medical personnel, returned to the dugout later in the contest.
sophomore catcher Troy Stein helped the Aggie lead swell to 5-0 in the bottom
of the third as he delivered in a clutch two-out situation with a sharp single
to left field that scored a pair.
who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored Saturday night, drove home a sixth
Aggie run in the home half of the fourth. The Spring, Texas, native and
reigning Big 12 Player of the Year now has scored six runs and collected five
hits in his first seven at bats of the 2012 season.
early lead was more than enough support for Stripling (1-0), who limited the
Flames to just six hits and two runs while striking out eight. The right-hander
wiggled his way out of trouble in the first inning and promptly retired 15 consecutive
batters before a leadoff single in the sixth ended the streak and helped the
Flames put their first two runs of the series on the scoreboard.
start talking about defining moments in games and that first inning Stripling
gives up hits to the first two guys, they're about to grab the momentum right
away and all he does is retire the next 15 in a row," said Texas A&M head
coach Rob Childress. "We came right back in the bottom of the first and scored
three of our own. That's probably a five-run swing right there."
the Flames scored in the top of the inning, Texas A&M countered in the bottom
of the sixth as senior third baseman Matt Juengel and House added RBI on a sac
fly and single, respectively.
Corey Ray and Gandy Stubblefield each pitched a scoreless inning of relief
during their Aggie debuts on the mound late in the contest.
A&M will give the ball to sophomore right-hander Rafael Pineda for his
first career start during Sunday's finale. The Flames will counter with a right-hander
of their own in senior Matt Heaslip, who was 5-5 with a 5.78 ERA year ago.