BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M baseball head coach Rob Childress earned his 600th career win Friday night as the Maroon & White toppled the New Mexico State Aggies, 4-1, on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Among the over 50 active coaches who have reached the 600 NCAA Division I wins plateau, Childress is the second fastest in the SEC and eighth in the nation to arrive at the mark, needing just 915 games.
The Maroon & White stymied the New Mexico State offense with the southpaw duo of Dustin Saenz and Joseph Menefee. Saenz (2-1) staked claim to the win with the best outing of his career, setting a career-high in innings pitched (7.2), strikeouts (9) and pitches thrown (111). The starter yielded one unearned run on three hits and two walks. Menefee came on in relief and stranded two inherited runners with a strikeout, after issuing a walk to load up the bags. Menefee (1) earned the save for working 1.1 scoreless innings, issuing one free bag while fanning two.
The duo combined for 11 strikeouts on the day, marking the 10th double-digit strikeout performance in 11 games. The pitchers also held the New Mexico State batters to 0-for-10 with two outs, 0-for-6 with runners on and 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The Lone Star Aggies delivered a team offensive performance, spreading eight hits amongst six batters. Will Frizzell and Ray Alejo came in clutch for the Maroon & White. Frizzell recorded two hits and three RBI, while Alejo was 2-for-3 with two runs, one double and one walk.
The Maroon & White broke the ice in the first with one run, before New Mexico State answered with one of their own to tie things up in the fourth. Texas A&M took the lead with a one-run sixth and two-run seventh, highlighted by Frizzell’s two-RBI single up the middle.
The Lone Star Aggies improved to 7-4, while the Zia Aggies drop to 1-4.
Ray Alejo – 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
Dustin Saenz – 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Joseph Menefee – 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
B1 | Ray Alejo sent the first pitch of the game past a diving rightfielder for a double. Will Frizzell plated Alejo on a lined single to leftfield. A&M 1, NMSU 0.
T4 | Zerek Saenz singled through the left side, and advanced to second via a balk. Saenz moved over to third base on a groundout and came in to score on a passed ball. A&M 1, NMSU 1.
B6 | With one out, Bryce Blaum reached first after being struck by a pitch. Blaum advanced to third on a fielding error induced on a hot shot to third base by Ty Coleman. With runners on the corners, Zane Schmidt put down a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt to plate Blaum. A&M 2, NMSU 1.
B7 | Mike Hoehner led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt Kalae Harrison. Alejo drew a four-pitch walk, before both runners moving into scoring position on a wild pitch. Frizzell lined a shot up the middle, scoring two. A&M 4, NMSU 1.
The action between Texas A&M and New Mexico State continues Saturday with first pitch slated for 2:02 p.m.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On his 600th win as Head Coach at Texas A&M…
“Just all the former players, just kind of a heartfelt deal that so many players that made an impact when you think about. Getting the 600, there is just a lot of great players that have come over the past years and some amazing assistant coaches, including the ones that are still here and others that have gone on. Just amazing support staff that we’ve had over the years to put us all in a great position, and not only that but the donors here at Texas A&M that have given us an opportunity to be really good each and every year. Most of all, the 12th Man, the fans, just very thankful for all those people, and there is just a lot of people who have gone into it over the years. Just time to look back and be thankful and appreciative of all the great people that are surrounding this place.”
Senior 1B Will Frizzell
On getting the job done playing small ball…
“It speaks a lot to everything that we do. We take batting practice differently on a day like today. Coach Chad Caillet does a great job of really trying to get us to hit more two-iron fly balls and really flatten it out. We had a lot of swings today that probably would’ve been extra-base hits on a normal day at the ballpark. We started to knock them down late with the fly balls, so it was nice.”