COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The No.1 Texas A&M Aggies notched a doubleheader sweep of the Kentucky Wildcats Sunday afternoon with a 6-3 win in the lid closer at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Aggies hit three home runs in the game and A&M boasts 10 whammies in the last three contests. Mitchell Nau dingered in both sides of the doubleheader. Nick Banks and JB Moss added home runs in game two.
It marked the eighth consecutive weekend series win for the Aggies, improving to 30-2 overall and 9-2 in SEC action.
The Maroon and White drew first blood in the top of the first inning. With one out, Ryne Birk drew a six-pitch walk to spark the rally. Nau appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play but the relay throw from shortstop bounced in the dirt and first baseman Evan White was unable to glove it. Banks made the Wildcats pay by blasting a 1-2 offering over the rightfield fence for a two-run home run, his third of the season.
Kentucky shaved a run off the lead in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Thomas Bernal drove a 1-2 pitch over the leftfield fence, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Texas A&M pushed the lead back to two runs in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Nau went opposite field for a solo home run, staking the Aggies to a 3-1 advantage.
The Wildcats used a couple fortuitous bounces to knot the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Ka'ai Tom sparked the rally by bouncing a single up the middle to start the frame. Tom stole second and motored to third when Aggie catcher Michael Barash's throw, which was accurate, ricocheted off Tom into the vacated hole at shortstop. JaVon Shelby plated Tom with a single to shallow right centerfield to cut the lead to 3-2. Storm Wilson pushed Shelby into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Hendrix relieved Matt Kent on the mound. Hendrix got Bernal to ground into hole on the right side where Hunter Melton dove to pounce on it. The ball briefly entered the webbing of his glove before trickling towards the area second baseman Ryne Birk had vacated to cover first base on the play. Shelby wisely motored home to score on the equalizer on the Bernal single.
The Aggies wrangled the lead back with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Kentucky's Dustin Beggs was relieved on the mound, despite retiring eight hitters in a row. Kyle Cody hit the first batter he faced, Mitchell Nau, to start the inning. Nau moved to second on a groundout by Banks and came around to score the go-ahead run when Logan Taylor hit a gapper to right-center for a double. Nick Choruby replaced Taylor at second as a pinch-runner and after Ronnie Gideon was caught looking at strike three for the second out of the inning, Moss hit a first-pitch offering onto the party deck in right centerfield for a two-run dinger, inflating the A&M cushion to 6-3.
Hendrix (1-0) picked up the win in relief, working 2.0 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and one walk. Mark Ecker earned his fourth save of the season, allowing one hit and striking out one in 1.2 blank frames. In the start, Kent allowed three runs on five hits while striking out two in 3.1 innings.
Cody (2-3) was saddled with the loss for Kentucky. He allowed three runs on three hits and one walk while striking out four in 2.0 innings.
The Aggies return to action Tuesday went they host the Rice Owls on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. First pitch is slated for 6:35 pm.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head coach Rob Childress
On the sweep... "These guys were all business this weekend. It was a tough series because we had to sit around the hotel for a couple of days and watch it rain, but we were able to get in the cages and hit on Thursday and Friday and they were ready to play today. Kentucky was a team coming off a good series at LSU, so they were feeling good about themselves."
On the offense... "We said on Wednesday night we didn't want to sit back and wait for the series to unfold. We wanted to be aggressive. The guys took that the right way. Being aggressive, doesn't mean take bad swings. It means be ready to hit pitches in the zone."