March 15, 2009

Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Brooks Raley scattered four hits and struck out nine over eight innings and Kevin Gonzalez delivered a key two-run single late as No. 3 Texas A&M defeated fifth-ranked Baylor, 6-2, Saturday evening in the Big 12 opener for both teams before 3,696 fans at Olsen Field.

Raley (4-0) matched a career high with the eight innings on the mound and was one shy of his career high in punchouts. He walked only one batter, allowed just two to second base and retired the last 10 he faced on the night.

With the win, the Aggies improved to 12-4 and 1-0 in Big 12 play, while the Bears saw a four-game win streak snapped and fell to 10-3 and 0-1.

Gonzalez stepped to the plate in the seventh with one out, two in scoring position and A&M clinging to a 2-1 lead. The Aggie catcher worked the count full off Baylor starter Kendal Volz before fisting a single into center field, plating Kyle Colligan and Brodie Greene and making the score 4-1.

An RBI groundout by Scott Arthur and an RBI single by Nick Anders, both in the eighth inning, extended the lead to 6-1 before the Bears scored their final run of the evening in the ninth.

A&M struck first in its half of the second inning.

Luke Anders drew a leadoff walk and promptly stole second base. After Colligan was hit by a pitch to put the first two batters on, Greene's team-leading fourth sacrifice bunt moved both into scoring position. The move paid off as the next batter, Brett Parsons, punched an 0-1 pitch through the right side of the Baylor infield, plating both and giving A&M an early 2-0 lead.
 
The Bears responded in the fourth. With one out, Adam Hornung hit his team-leading fourth home run of the year, an opposite-field solo shot just inside the right field foul pole that cut the Aggie lead in half.

The score would remain the same until the seventh, as both starters were dueling it out on the mound.

Colligan would set the stage for Gonzalez with a leadoff triple into the right-field corner past a diving Aaron Miller. Greene was then hit by a pitch and one out later moved to second on a wild pitch with Gonzalez at the plate.

Miller drove in the final run of the night in the ninth with an RBI double to deep center field.

Colligan scored three of A&M's six runs on the evening, with Parsons and Gonzalez driving in two runs apiece.

Volz (1-1) went seven complete and gave up three hits, four runs (all earned) and three walks while striking out nine.

The series continues on Sunday with first pitch at Olsen Field scheduled for 1:05 p.m. A&M will send junior Alex Wilson (1-2, 0.96 ERA) to the mound, while Baylor will counter with junior Aaron Miller (1-0, 3.48). The game will air locally on WTAW-AM 1620 and free live video will be available on aggieathletics.com.

POSTGAME NOTES

• Brooks Raley's eight innings tied a career high, set twice last season...Raley threw a complete game (eight innings) in a loss at Texas on May 16, then followed that two weeks later with an eight-inning effort in the NCAA Regional opener against UIC (May 30).

• Raley's nine strikeouts was one shy of his career high of 10, set in his first career start against Rutgers (March 8, 2008)...he has won all of his starts this spring.

• Texas A&M now leads the all-time series, 174-127-4.

• The Aggies improved to 7-6 all-time in Big 12 openers and have won three in a row.

• Game-time temperature was 49 degrees with overcast skies and winds blowing in towards first base at six miles per hour.

POSTGAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH Rob Childress: "It was a great game, well-pitched on both sides. We were able to get timely hits. Brett Parsons got a big two-RBI single and Kevin Gonzalez got another big two-run single. Scott Arthur put the ball in play for us and Nick Anders got a big hit for us late. It was a great pitcher's duel between Brooks Raley and Kendal Volz, an outstanding game. It was typical of a first game of a series."

(on the effort of Brooks Raley) "I thought he pitched really well tonight and the seventh inning was really good. I wasn't going to run him out for the eighth because we had the long bottom of the inning, and really hesitated doing it, but he went out there and finished his outing the right way. It was just an incredible performance."

SOPHOMORE P Brooks Raley: "It was a great game. Last year we ended up 2-1, and this was a competitive game. It was a lot of fun."

(on getting the first game of a split series) "It's big. We needed this one for sure, but we have to go win the series tomorrow."