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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies tops Stephen F. Austin, 5-4

Before taking on Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, Texas A&M held a 15-0 record against the Lumberjacks that went back to 1949. The unblemished record was hotly contested by SFA, but the Aggies walked away with a narrow 5-4 victory.
A&M took an early 1-0 lead by scoring an unearned run from second on an error on the SFA centerfielder in the first inning. The game marked the fifth consecutive that the Aggies have scored at least one run in the first inning. In the 2008 season A&M is 12-2 when they score in the first inning.
For the first time in the two game series against the Aggies, the Lumberjacks were able to take the lead in the top of the second inning. Behind two different RBI groundouts, SFA took a 2-1 lead off of A&M starter Shane Minks.
Aggie catcher Brian Ruggiano responded in the bottom of the inning against Lumberjack starter Kevin Thomas. Ruggiano struck a single into centerfield and took second and third base on a throwing error during the following at bat. First baseman Luke Anders walked on a full count passed ball and Ruggiano tied the game.
A&M took the lead again in the third inning when Ruggiano knocked another single through the left infield gap to score third baseman Dane Carter from second.
Minks gave up two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to SFA third baseman Sean Meyers and second baseman Justin Roland. Minks was relieved by Blake Rampy in the top of the fifth inning after he walked a batter with one out.
Second baseman Blake Stouffer has struggled at the plate in 2008. He is hitting .218 compared to .398 in 2007. However with the Aggies down by one with two outs, Stouffer hit a clutch homer over the right field wall on the first pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 4-4.
“I told the team before the game that I’d like to beat somebody 9-0, scoring one run an inning,” A&M Head Coach Rob Childress said. “For about four innings they made a believer out of me, but [SFA] came back and tied the game.”
The next four innings were relatively quiet as neither team could produce a run. A&M came close twice during the bottom of the eighth though. Anders led the inning off with a double and reached third on Ben Feltner’s sacrifice bunt.
The coaches planned a squeeze bunt for right fielder Brooks Raley, but Raley missed the call and Anders was caught in a rundown that resulted in the second out of the inning.
“Brooks Raley didn’t get [the bunt] down,” Anders said. “But it’s partially my fault because I should have noticed that the pitch was low and away and I shouldn’t have run down as far. I’ll take the blame for that.”
Raley would take a walk and steal second during the next at bat. However the Aggies failed to score in the inning after Stouffer grounded out to send the game to the ninth inning.
Behind closer Travis Starling, the A&M defense turned a key double play to keep the Lumberjacks from taking the lead in the ninth.
After the rundown in the eighth, Anders reached the plate again in the ninth with two outs and a runner at first and second base. Anders hit a low grounder on a 3-0 pitch that took a big hop over the second baseman’s head to score pinch runner Brodie Greene from second and gave the Aggies the 5-4 victory.
“I was very relieved [to get the hit],” Anders said after the game. “A lot of the guys were tired so I figured I’d get a hit so we could stay in the dugout.”
“I’m just happy we won,” Childress said. “There’s a lot to be said for finding a way to win. I’d rather do that than play great and find a way to lose. I like the way we’re playing.”
A&M returns to action against Big 12 opponent Kansas State on Friday to kick off a three game series.

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