Aggies Claim Series Opener from Fresno State, 3-2

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 23:49:40-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies used a pair of early home runs and clutch pitching down the stretch to register a 3-2 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs in Friday’s series opener on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

Pitchers Jace Vines and Ryan Hendrix combined to hold Fresno State to 1-of-9 hitting with runners in scoring position.

Vines (3-0) earned the win, yielding two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out six in 6.2 innings. Hendrix picked up his third save of the season, blanking the Bulldogs over 2.1 frames, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out four.

Trailing 3-2 after six innings, Fresno State was able to get runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings, but Hendrix got inning-ending strikeouts in the seventh and eighth and a strikeout and groundout with a runner at second to end the game.

The 10 strikeouts by Aggie pitchers extended the team’s streak of double-digit punchouts to eight consecutive games and gave the staff 12 10-plus strikeout outings in 14 contests on the year.

The Maroon and White drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning. Birthday boy Hunter Melton launched a full count offering from Fresno State starter Ricky Tyler Thomas into the recreation center construction zone in leftfield to lead off the frame. The solo shot was his fourth home run of the season.

Texas A&M (13-1) tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Melton drew an eight-pitch walk. After Nick Banks struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, Michael Barash punched a first-pitch offering just over the leftfield fence for his third dinger of the season, staking the Aggies to a 3-0 lead.

Fresno State (11-3) broke the scoring seal in the top of the fifth inning. Joe Prior started the frame with a double down the leftfield line, moved to third on a single to left-center by Korby Batesole and scored when Scott Silva grounded out to shortstop, trimming the Aggie margin to 3-1.

A solo home run by Aaron Arruda in the sixth cut the A&M lead to 3-2.

Barash accounted for three of the Aggies’ five hits on the day, going 3-for-3 with one run, one home run and two RBI. Melton was 1-for-2 with one walk, two runs and one home run.

Thomas (2-1) was the hard-luck loser for the Bulldogs. He worked a complete-game, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out nine in 8.0 innings.

Arruda paced Fresno State at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one home run. Batesole added two hits.

The Aggies and Bulldogs return to action Saturday with a 2 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.


Head Coach Rob Childress
On the Jace Vines…

“I though Jace Vines was in control all night long. Give Fresno State’s hitters credit because I thought they put some good swings on the mistakes that he made. I thought he kept it together though and was able to take us deep in the game. I told the guys this was going to be a conference-type weekend and that we need to be prepared for a low scoring tight game. Their left-hander did a great job and we were able to capitalize off his two mistakes”

On Ryan Hendrix…

“He got it back together his last inning. He gave up the leadoff single, but he was able to pitch around that. In the eighth inning things got a little hairy, but all-in-all I thought he was very good.”

Senior first baseman Hunter Melton

On his birthday…

“That’s the best one I’ve had. It’s great to get the win and the home run with a lot of my family in the stands. I think they might have some cake for me.”

Senior catcher Michael Barash

On his 3-for-3 day…

“Coach Bolt and Coach Seely had a really good approach for me today. The approach was good for the whole team. It might not have looked that way with the five hits, but that was a great pitcher they had out there and we were getting some solid swings on him.

Sophomore pitcher Jace Vines

On his outing…

“I felt good. That’s a scrappy team. They really take good at-bats. They take really good at-bats with two strikes and they take really good at-bats with two outs. That makes it tough, but those are the kind of nights were going to have in SEC play next weekend. I think this was a great test.”