PITCHING AND DEFENSE LEAD BASEBALL TO 1-0 WIN OVER #21 TEXAS A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Ty Nichols threw seven shutout innings, aided by three double plays, and sophomore Sutter McLoughlin got the last six outs while senior David Del Grande drove home the only run of the game as Sacramento State scored a 1-0 win over #21 Texas A&M on Friday night.
The win was the first for Sacramento State (4-2) over a ranked team since beating No. 25 New Mexico State in April 2012. The game was the first in program history against a team from the SEC while Texas A&M (4-1), which had scored 34 runs through its first four games of the year, took its first loss of the season.
"It was really fun to play against an SEC team and the crowd was electric," said Nichols, who needed just 77 pitches to get through seven shutout innings. "Defense wins games and it's easy to pitch confidently when you have a good defense behind you. Sutter came in and shut the door and he made the game seven innings long. They're a good team and hopefully we can get another win and win the series, that'd be huge for us as a program."
Nichols scattered six hits and one walk with two strikeouts over his seven innings of work, allowing just one extra base hit. The Hornet defense recorded double plays in the third, fifth, and sixth innings, with the last one a strikeout-throw out double play as catcher Dane Fujinaka gunned down a stolen base attempt.
The Hornets had just three hits in the contest but were able to manufacture a run in the fourth inning. First baseman Rhys Hoskins led off the inning and reached on a throwing error by Aggie shortstop Patrick McLendon, but Hoskins sprained his ankle on the play and was replaced by freshman Brandon Hunley. After a strikeout Clay Cederquist singled to right to move Hunley to third, and with two away Del Grande drilled a ball through the left side to bring home the run.
Texas A&M pithing did not allow a Hornet base runner after the fifth inning, setting down 13 straight Sacramento State hitters through the end of the game. Nichols was replaced by McLoughlin to start the eighth, and the preseason All-American needed just eight pitches to retire the side in order.
The No. 2, 3, and 4 hitters came to the plate against McLoughlin in the ninth inning but fared no better. McLoughlin got a fly out to right, a pop out to first base, and fly out to center on just 13 pitches in the ninth to finish a six-out save, his third save already this season.
Aggie starter Daniel Mengden also had a strong seven innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts and just one unearned run, and teammate Andrew Vinson also pitched a perfect eighth and ninth. Two Texas A&M players had multi-hit games but with the three double plays turned by the Hornets the home team left just four runners on base.
The only negative on Friday night was the injuries, as In addition to losing Hoskins, second baseman Scott Loper also had to leave the game as he nurses an injured thumb. Hunley and junior outfielder Kyle Moses came in as replacements while senior Will Soto moved from third to first and back to third and left fielder Chris Lewis played the last five innings as the first baseman.
An announced crowd of 4,671 attended Friday's game. Junior Brennan Leitao will face Texas A&M senior Parker Ray in game two of the series on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.