COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Senior catcher Kevin Gonzalez and sophomore outfielder Tyler Naquin each homered for the No. 6 Texas A&M Sunday as the Aggies completed a sweep of No. 15 Oklahoma State with an 8-1 victory at Olsen Field.
The win gave the Aggies (29-11, 14-4 Big 12) a full game lead in the Big 12 standings over idle Texas and dropped OSU to 28-12 overall and 10-8 in league play.
Naquin made an immediate impact during the game’s first inning, not with his bat but with his glove, as the Cowboys looked poised to put a crooked number on the scoreboard. With OSU already leading 1-0 and appearing on its ways to scoring a second run, Naquin gunned down a Cowboy trying to score at the plate for the second out of the inning. During the next at bat, a second straight single to right field failed to produce a score as OSU held a runner at third following Naquin’s throw to the plate.
Texas A&M starter Ross Stripling (8-2) escaped the inning with only the lone run against his ledger and found his groove in the third inning when he retired the side in order and began a streak that saw him retire 18 of the final 19 batters he faced.
The Southlake, Texas, native earned his team-leading eighth win on the mound by tossing eight innings and scattering six hits. He allowed just the one run in the first inning while walking none and striking out two batters.
Junior third baseman Adam Smith got the Aggies on the board and tied the game at one run apiece during the bottom of the fourth when he collected a two-out RBI single.
The contest remained deadlocked at 1-1 until the home half of the sixth when the Aggies batted around to plate five runs. Junior designated hitter Matt Juengel, who was hit by two pitches on the day, began the scoring for Texas A&M with a two-run single off OSU starter Hunter Herrera (2-1).
Gonzalez added the inning’s biggest blow when he connected on a 1-0 fastball from Cowboy reliever Chris Marlowe and drove the pitch over the wall in left center for his second long ball of the year.
“I was really proud of the way we played (this weekend),” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Some guys really stepped up for us offensively. Adam Smith, Kevin Gonzalez and Matt Juengel are three guys we have got to be able to lean on every time we take the field and they all three had good weekends.”
Naquin plated a pair of Aggie insurance runs with his second home run of the year leading off the seventh inning and an RBI triple in the eighth. The Spring, Texas, native who hit for the cycle on March 6 against Houston fell just a double short of accomplishing the feat again on Sunday with a 3-for-4 afternoon.
The performance also extended Naquin’s career-long hitting streak to 16 games.
Freshman center fielder Krey Bratsen also enjoyed an impressive day at the plate, going 3-for-5 against the Cowboys.
Texas A&M is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Sam Houston State in a 6:35 p.m. contest at Olsen Field. Prior to the game, the Aggies will honor current SHSU and former Texas A&M head coach Mark Johnson who has announced his intent to retire following the 2011 season after a storied coaching career.