HOUSTON - The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies pushed across four runs in the second inning and then let its pitching staff do the rest, taking down Rice, 6-1, on Wednesday night at Reckling Park.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Aggies (9-4) and the second over the Owls (5-8) in just four days, having also defeated them on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Freshman lefty Justin Lamkin got the nod for his first start as an Aggie and delivered with flying colors. Making his third appearance in the Aggies' last four games, Lamkin kept the Owls off the board for 5.0 frames and racked up seven punchouts while allowing just three hits.
He was lifted with a 4-0 lead to start the fifth inning and the Owls immediately put together a threat against Aggie reliever Brandyn Garcia, but the lefty reliever worked out of it, thanks to double-play grounder to Kaeden Kent at third base with the bases loaded.
Garcia, along with Lamkin and Will Johnston carried the load for the Aggie pitching staff, striking out a dozen Owls and not allowing an earned run in the game.
Texas A&M did damage early, getting four singles in the second frame off Rice starter JD McCracken. The Owl lefty did not allow a hit the rest of the way through his 5.1 innings of work and punched out a career-best five hitters of his own, but was saddled with the loss after allowing all four runs in the second.
Rice got an unearned run home in the seventh, but the Aggies immediately answered back with a two-run double from Austin Bost that provided necessary insurance. Bost finished 2-for-4 in the game with a pair of RBI, extending his active hit streak to six games in a row.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS
Justin Lamkin - (W, 1-1) 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Brandyn Garcia - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Austin Bost - 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Jace Laviolette - 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Jordan Thompson - 1-for-4, R, RBI
T1 | TAMU 4, RICE 0
The Aggies went down in order in the first, but went right to work in the second against McCracken. Singles from Austin Bost and Ryan Targac got the rally started and after Kaeden Kent was hit by a pitch to load the sacks, Jordan Thompson lined an RBI single to center field to open the scoring by plating Bost. Jace LaViolette then singled to left to bring home two more for a 3-0 lead and one batter later JD Gregson put a ball in play to bring home Thompson from third.
B7 | TAMU 4, RICE 1
Rice was able to take advantage of an Aggie error to get on the board for the first time in the game, getting an extra 90 feet on a bad throw after a throwing error to get Trey Duffield into scoring position. A wild pitch then moved him up to the third, which was enough to get home on a routine grounder from Pierce Gallo.
T8 | TAMU 6, RICE 1
The Aggies were in search of insurance entering the late innings and got consecutive singles from JD Gregson and Tab Tracy to open the eighth, the first A&M hits since its four-run second inning. But the rally looked to come to an early end after the Owls got Hunter Haas to ground into a double play; however, after a walk to Jack Moss, Bost rifled a one-hop double off the right-center field wall to plate a pair of runs and up the lead to five.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
Opening thoughts on the win over Rice... "I thought Lamkin did a really nice job. We faced a really good lefty, as good a lefty as we've seen all year to this point. He was exceptionally tough on our left-handed hitters, but we put together some good at-bats in the one inning and had some balls fall in. I thought it (Bost's hit) was really big because they brought their closer in the middle of the game. So, we saw two of their best pictures and Bost's double kind of took a lot of pressure off."
Thoughts on the pitching performance from Brandyn Garcia... "Other than Lamkin, the story of the night is Brandyn Garcia. He's been a guy that has shown elite stuff in his career and if he starts to throw enough strikes with his wipeout breaking ball, I mean, he's a weapon."
On Austin Bost's performance... "He's had a few balls fall in and then he's starting to get some confidence. He swinging at good pitches and has stayed on the ball to right field a couple of times, which is a big sign for him. He's a pull hitter, but if you can just stay on enough of them that way, then the ones he pulls, he'll keep fair and they have a chance to be base hits. If he's pulling everything, then they won't. Austin's an experienced hitter and we just need to add a few more guys to pick up the slack."
The Aggies will return home for its final non-conference weekend series of the year beginning Friday vs Northern Kentucky. All games will be aired on SEC Network+.