NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The Texas A&M Aggies became the 12th NCAA Division I program and the first SEC team to hit the 2,500-win plateau with a 10-4 win over the No. 7 Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday evening at Hawkins Field.
Freshman Nick Banks led an Aggie armada that pounded out 12 hits, including four extra-base hits. Banks went 2-for-4 with one double, two runs and one RBI. Blake Allemand, Cole Lankford and Krey Bratsen each logged two hits.
The Aggies fired the first shot across the Commodores’ bow in the top of the second inning, scoring four runs. Hunter Melton sparked the rally by legging out an infield single to short to start the frame. Banks followed by snaking a single past the glove of a diving Vanderbilt shortstop Vince Conde and into shallow left-center to put two runners on. Melton came around to score when Commodore second baseman Dansby Swanson was unable to glove a throw at first on a sacrifice bunt by Logan Nottebrok.
With two runners in scoring position after the error, Troy Stein grounded out to second base to knock in Banks for the 2-0 advantage. After Ronnie Gideon struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, Bratsen singled off the glove off the glove of Swanson up the middle to push Nottebrok across. Bratsen stole second base and came around to score when Allemand deposited a triple down the leftfield line for the 4-0 advantage.
The Aggies inflated the cushion to 7-1 in the top of the fifth. Lankford poked a leadoff single to the gap in left-center and Hunter Melton followed with a six-pitch walk. Banks one-hopped a ball over the wall in right-centerfield for the ground-rule double, driving in Lankford. After the Nottebrok drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases, Stein grounded into a double play to push Melton across for the six-run advantage.
The Aggies used a three-run seventh inning to secure the mutiny of the Commodores. Jace Statum was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Banks dropped a single into centerfield. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position and after Nottebrok grounded out to short for the first out of the inning, Stein drew a five-pitch walk to fill the bags with Ags. Ryne Birk cleared the bases with a three-run single down the rightfield line for the 10-3 lead.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head coach Rob Childress…
On Nick Banks…
He’s a great combination of speed and strength. And he’s not scared. When you have that kind of package in a player who is fearless, you have a special player. He’s a very talented guy who is forcing us to play him every night against lefts and rights and that’s a good thing.
On Ryne Birk’s pinch-hit triple…
That was a huge at-bat. The game was still in the balance and they were one good inning from making a run at us in their home park. For him to come off the bench cold and clear the bases with a triple was huge for us.