COLUMBIA, Mo. — For Texas A&M senior center fielder Ray Alejo, Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Texas was the most fun he has had in his five-year Aggie career.
The Aggies carried those good vibes north and opened their three-game Southeastern Conference series against Missouri with a 16-2 victory Thursday at Taylor Stadium. A&M fell one run shy of its single-game record in SEC play.
“Everyone plays their best when they are relaxed and having a good time and playing the game like you’re 12 years old in the back yard playing wiffle ball,” Alejo said.
The super senior led the Aggies’ offensive charge, hitting three doubles and driving in three runs while going 3 for 5. Every Aggie starter drove in at least one run save two-hole hitter Will Frizzell, but the first baseman went 2 for 3 and scored two runs. And A&M’s Austin Bost, Ty Coleman and Kalae Harrison each drove in two runs.
“There was certainly no letdown after Tuesday night’s game,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Our guys came out ready to rock and throw down from the word go.”
A&M jumped to a 6-0 lead by plating two runs in each of the first three innings. Missouri starter Spencer Miles (1-5) lasted 2 2/3 innings and took the loss, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked two and didn’t strike out a batter.
A&M scored six of its first seven runs with two outs and nine overall.
The Aggies (19-9, 3-4) took a 7-0 lead into the top of the sixth when the offensive floodgates erupted for a nine-run frame. A&M scored two runs on bases-loaded walks and another on a bases-loaded hit batter.
A&M starter Dustin Saenz (5-2) pitched seven shutout innings, striking out 10 while scattering three hits and three walks to earn the win.
With a 16-run cushion, A&M turned to freshman reliever Kobe Andrade in the eighth. He allowed two runs on an RBI double by Mark Vierling to center, followed by an RBI single through the left side by Andrew Keefer. Fellow freshman reliever Wyatt Tucker closed the game with a one-hit, two-strikeout final frame.
Keefer led Missouri (8-17, 1-6) at the plate, going 2 for 4.
Game 2 is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday with A&M sophomore left-hander Jonathan Childress (2-2, 3.38 ERA) set to face Missouri sophomore righty Seth Halvorsen (2-1, 7.52).