June 4, 2010

Courtesy of AggieAthletics.com

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Texas A&M bats exploded for season highs in hits, runs and home runs and Barret Loux tossed eight strong innings to lead the Aggies to a 17-3 win over FIU in the NCAA Coral Gables Regional opener Friday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park.

A&M (41-19-1) fell behind after the Panthers (36-24) scored a first-inning run, but Joe Patterson launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame and the bats would score in all but one inning from that point on to lead the Aggies to their seventh straight win.

"I'm really proud of the way we played today, but it's one game," A&M coach Rob Childress said. "The big game is now tomorrow. I thought Barret did an outstanding job for us on the mound. FIU came out and got after it, had runners at the corners with nobody out, and we were able to get out of that with just one run. Joe Patterson came out and hit that home run for us and we were able to continue going offensively from that point on."

Leading 4-1 through three, the Aggies would blow the game open in the fourth. After two singles began the rally, Brodie Greene doubled into the left-field corner to plate Andrew Collazo. Patterson delivered a sac fly and two pitches later Matt Juengel homered over the left center field wall to extend the lead to seven.

Consecutive doubles by Joaquin Hinojosa and Tyler Naquin in the fifth and homers on back-to-back pitches by Adam Smith and Kevin Gonzalez in the sixth would make the score 12-2. Greene would add a long home run over the scoreboard in left center to put an exclamation point on the offensive outburst.

Nearly every position in the lineup had at least two hits, with the one through five spots combining to go 14-for-23 (.609) with 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Hinojosa, Patterson, Juengel and Tyler Naquin had three hits apiece, while Greene, Patterson, Juengel and Smith each drove in three runs. The Aggies 20 hits were the most in an NCAA tournament game since 2003.

Loux, meanwhile, got into a first-and-third, no-out jam in the first, but got Panther second baseman Garrett Wittels to fly out to shallow right and allowed only a sac fly to the next batter to escape with just the one run scoring. After giving up the two hits to begin the game, Loux (11-2) retired 15 of the next 18 batters as A&M built a nine-run lead. On the day, the junior fanned 10, walked one and allowed three runs over eight innings of work.

"Barret I felt was a little overheated," Childress said. "I wasn't sure if we were going to get him past the second or third inning. But for him to go eight complete was an amazing performance against a very good offensive team."

FIU starter R.J. Fondon (5-4) suffered the loss, giving up five hits and four runs over two-plus innings.

Texas A&M advances to a winner's bracket game on Saturday at 4 p.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (CT) against either Miami or Dartmouth, who were playing late in the afternoon. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU.

POSTGAME NOTES: The victory was A&M's seventh in a row, 13th in the last 14 and 19 of the last 22 dating back to April 27 ... it was the Aggies' seventh victory in the last eight tries in a regional opener ... Texas A&M's 20 hits was a season high, and the most since May 6, 2008 (22 at Sam Houston State) ... it was the most hits by an Aggie team in an NCAA Regional since May 31, 2003 (20 in a win over Alabama) ... A&M's 17 runs were the most in an NCAA game since May 31, 2008 (22-4 win over Houston) ... Friday marked the 12th time this year A&M has scored 10 or more runs in a game and the eighth time the Aggies have had 15 or more hits ... Barret Loux's strikeout of Pablo Bermudez to end the seventh inning was the Aggies' 569th of the year, seting the school's team single-season record ... Aggie pitching fanned 11 on the day to run the new school record to 572 ... Loux finished the game with 10 strikeouts, his sixth double-digit punchout performance of the season ... he now has 136 on the year, third most in school history (record is 162 by Casey Fossum in 1999) ... Loux moved into fourth place all-time in career strikeouts (279), passing Mark Thurmond (273, 1976-79) ... Texas A&M homered five times in the game, the most by an Aggie team in an NCAA game since June 2, 2008 vs Houston at Olsen Field (4) ... the five home runs were also a season high (most since March 7, 2009 vs Utah - 6) ... Adam Smith and Kevin Gonzalez homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning ... it was the second time this year Aggie batters hit home runs on two straight pitches (Kevin Gonzalez and Andrew Collazo, May 21 vs Kansas State) ... Caleb Shofner was hit by two pitches in the game, setting the school's career record (40) ... Kevin Gonzalez extended his hit streak to a career-high 10 games in the third inning ... Adam Smith (5) and Brodie Greene (5) extended streaks as well ... A&M is now 56-54 all-time in NCAA tournament play, 45-35 in regionals and 3-1 all-time vs FIU ... game-time temperature was 90 degrees with cloudy skies and winds blowing out to center at 13 miles per hour.

 

Texas A&M 17, FIU 3 (Jun 04, 2010 at Coral Gables, FL)

FIU................. 100 001 010 - 3 6 2 (36-24)
Texas A&M........... 202 422 14X - 17 20 0 (41-19-1)

Pitchers: FIU - Fondon, R.J.; DeSimone, Daniel(3); Marban, Jorge(5); Vitale, Dillon(6); Leith, Justin(6); Vazquez, Andre(8) and Behar, Jose; Reilly, Sean. Texas A&M - Loux, Barret; Minks, Shane(9) and Gonzalez, Kevin; Alcazar, Gregg.
Win-Loux, Barret(11-2) Loss-Fondon, R.J.(5-4) T-3:05 A-0 HR FIU - Henry, Jabari (12).
HR TA - Greene, Brodie (13); Patterson, Joe (8); Juengel, Matt (10); Smith, Adam (9); Gonzalez, Kevin (8).
Weather: 90, cloudy, wind S 13
Game notes:
2010 NCAA Coral Gables Regional Game #2

Fondon faced 3 batters in the 3rd.

POSTGAME QUOTES

Head Coach Rob Childress

Opening statement...
"I'm just really proud of the way we played today. It's just one game. It's a big game tomorrow. Whether it's a 17-3 or 5-3 game, I thought Barrett [Loux] did an outstanding job for us on the mound. Florida International came out and got after it. They had runners at first and third with nobody out and we were able to get out of there with only giving up one run. Joe Patterson comes right back and hits a two-run homer for and we were able to continue going offensively. Barrett I felt like was little overheated. I wasn't sure if we were going to get him past the second or third inning, but for him to go eight innings was an amazing, amazing performance against a very good offensive team."

On the pitch count rising for Loux throughout the game...
"Barret felt a lot better after we got the IV [and fluids] in him, he settled in and was very good. We had him set to come out in the seventh inning. But he came off the field feeling good in the seventh, and we let him go back out there - and we were able to save the rest of our pitching staff for the rest of the weekend; which that is good. I'm really proud of his performance - and I'm even more proud of our offensive production today."

On having a good crowd and traveling well...
"We've got a great, great support at Texas A&M and on campus. It doesn't matter if it is women's soccer, basketball or baseball - our fans are special. We've always traveled well. We have a big following in our baseball program."

On the win setting the tempo for the weekend...
"I think it helped today. This was the most important day of the tournament today. Tomorrow night's late game is going to set somebody up where another team is going to have to come back and beat them twice. Today was a big game - and tomorrow's game at 4 p.m., will be a big one for us as well."

No. 50 Barret Loux (Jr., RHP)

On his approach to Garrett Wittels...
"I didn't feel like I was just going to walk him and take the easy way out. I was just trying to throw him good pitches and he did end up getting a hit on me at a 3-0 count. I threw him a strike, and he just hit a line drive into right field."

On the heat in Miami against Texas...
"It's a little different, but our place is still hot. There's not much difference, but there is something about it. I think most of my struggles at first were that I couldn't grip the ball. Once I figured a way to be able to do that there, I was able to get settled in.

On the anticipation of facing a guy with a streak like Wittels...
"A little bit, but once you get into the game - you don't really think about that. You just think if you can get a guy out four times. It would have been nice - but hats off to him."

No. 3 Joe Patterson (Sr., 1B/DH)

On the hitting power today...
"Yeah - the hitters came out, and we had a good day today. But we have to remember today is over; and have to come out tomorrow and try and do the same thing."

On the continuation of having good at-bats and hitting each time up...
"After a certain amount of runs, we were trying to keep having good at-bats back-to-back; and were just trying to stay hot for the next day."

(3) FIU (36-24)

Head Coach Turtle Thomas
On having to put this game behind them and look forward to tomorrow...
"We're at the same spot we were at a week ago, when we got beat by South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament opening game - and we did not play a good ball game. We had a good pitching performance after that the next day, and came back - the guys started hitting, and we took off from there. We fully expect to do the same thing. This team will be ready to play tomorrow - I guarantee you."

On whether his guys played tight in the game...
"Frankly, I was a little surprised that we came out tight. I don't know if everybody did - but even if one guy does, that can affect how that inning goes. We just have to loosen up, relax and like I said - crash through that invisible pressure barrier."

On the power of Texas A&M's hitting...
"They did a little bit of both today - they bunted for some base hits, and had some base-running plays. But, obviously, they hit some balls a long way today. And they did surprise me with the type of power they had today. They definitely hit some balls well today."

No. 10 Garrett Whittles (Soph., INF)

On the pitching of Texas A&M starter Barret Loux...
"He was great. He shut us down, and he was as advertised. We just didn't really make any adjustments - and didn't play our game. He was great; he was what everyone said."

On the decision to hit with the 3-0 count in the sixth inning...
"I looked at Coach [Turtle] Thomas, and he gave me the green light. So, since we were down, 8-1, at the time - if it was out of the zone I wasn't going to swing, but it was a good pitch - fastball away - and I was able to get it on the barrel."

No. 13 Junior Arrojo (Sr., INF)

Talking about the hardest thing about hitting Barret Loux...
"He just attacked us, and we couldn't make adjustments. He kept doing the same thing - and kept getting stops. But we've got to make adjustments."