COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies had three pitchers combine on the shutout as the Maroon and White blanked the No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores, 1-0, in Thursday’s series opener on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Turner Larkins, Andrew Vinson and Mark Ecker combined to scatter six hits and one walk while striking out 10 in the win.
Larkins, making his first start of the season, allowed three hits while striking out four in 3.1 innings.
Vinson entered the game with two runners in scoring position and one out in the fourth inning. He fanned Tyler Campbell and got Connor Kaiser to groundout to first to end the inning. He earned the win with 3.0 shutout frames, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out three to improve to 2-2.
Ecker entered the game with a runner on second base and one out in the seventh. He induced a groundout by Bryan Reynolds and a fly out to rightfield by Julian Infante to keep Vanderbilt off the board. He retired all eight batters he faced in 2.2 innings to pick up his third save of the season.
Texas A&M (36-9, 15-7 SEC) benefited from an error to score the game’s only run in the bottom of the first. J.B. Moss led off with a three-hopper to third base that was misplayed by Will Toffey. Groundouts by Nick Banks and Boomer White moved Moss to third and Hunter Melton sent him home with a single to stake the Aggies to 1-0 lead. Moss has scored in the first inning on 18 occasions in 2016.
Aggie pitchers worked in traffic for much of the contest as Vanderbilt (35-11, 13-9 SEC) stranded 10 runners in the first seven innings.
Austin Homan was the lone Aggie to register multiple hits, going 2-for-3. He extended his Texas A&M season-long hit streak to 18 games. Boomer White logged a hit in his 22nd consecutive SEC game, extending his school record for a hit streak in league games.
Jordan Sheffield (7-3) was the hard-luck loser for Vanderbilt. He allowed one unearned run on six hits while striking out five in 7.0 innings.
Tickets are still available for Friday’s 6 pm contest against Vanderbilt. Tickets can be purchased at 12thManFoundation.com or during business hours at the Athletic Ticket Office located at Kyle Field or by calling the ticket office at 1-888-99-AGGIE or 979-845-2311. The Blue Bell Park Ticket Office will open at 1 pm on Friday.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the game…
“I thought Turner (Larkins) was outstanding and exactly what we needed. Our other guys (Brigham Hill and Kyle Simonds) were going to be short-rested two days if we went with the normal rotation. We needed somebody else to step up and Turner’s been really good for us the last three weeks. He certainly made me look smart tonight with his performance and each guy behind him had to come into trouble and they made pitches when it mattered most.
“(Andrew) Vinson comes in with runners at second, third, one out gets the punch out and ground ball. [Jeren] Kendall hits a double and just like that Mark Ecker comes in and gets two quick outs to get us off the field. All in all, we played good defense tonight and I know we made a couple of mistakes but it didn’t cost us any runs.”
Junior pitcher Mark Ecker
On his outing tonight and making the one run standup…
“Coach called me in there in the seventh inning. I was just trying to go in there and find the strike zone because I knew if I did that and trusted my off-speed stuff we’d be okay.”