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Baseball sweeps opening weekend

By Tyler Stafford & Patrick Crank
On February 16, 2014

The No. 24 Texas A&M baseball team completed its sweep of the Northeastern Huskies Sunday afternoon in dramatic fashion, winning the game on a walk-off home run from junior infielder Logan Nottebrok.

The Aggies (3-0, 0-0 SEC) scored 21 points through the first two games of the series against the Huskies (0-3, 0-0 CAA), but went scoreless through eight full innings of Sunday’s game before sending the Olsen Field crowd home happy.

“I thought our guys played with a lot of composure today and I’m glad we played this type of game,” said Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress. “There’s going to be an awful lot of [tight games] this year, and usually the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. We were able to overcome ourselves today.”

Sophomore right-hander Grayson Long kept the Aggies in the game, pitching seven innings with seven strikeouts and allowing no runs. Long said he feels more comfortable on the mound after having a year of experience playing at Olsen Field.

“I guess I’m a little bit less intimidated by the whole Olsen Magic, the 12th Man and all that, so I just kind of let it go,” Long said.

Senior relief pitcher Jason Jester held off the Huskies in the ninth despite an early jam in the inning that saw runners on first and second with no outs. Jester’s appearance marked his first of the season.

“I think it’s good as a ball-club to have close games like that, because in the SEC we’re going to have those more often than not,” Jester said. “I thought it was overall a good team win and I think it’s good to face a little adversity early. In the SEC there’s going to be a lot of one, two, three run ballgames and it’s big for us to get a taste of that early.”

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the game knotted at 0-0, it took just two pitches for the Aggies to leave the field victorious thanks to a towering walk-off shot over the left-field fence by Nottebrok.

“He didn’t really give me much to hit all game, so being up in that situation you can’t ask for any better opportunities than that,” Nottebrok said.

The weekend marked Nottebrok’s debut as an Aggie, after he transferred to A&M from Texas A&M–Corpus Christi and Temple College. Nottebrok said hitting a home run in front of the Olsen crowd is unlike anywhere else he’s played.

“The other colleges I was at, you know you hit a home run and it’s just ‘good job.’ That — that was something else. That was awesome,” Nottebrok said. “You can’t ask for much better support than that.”

The other two games this weekend did not provide quite the drama that Sunday’s game did.

On Friday, the gates to Olsen Field were opened for the first time this season. A crowd of 5,506 watched the Aggies defeat the Huskies 10-2 behind junior pitcher Daniel Mengden. Mengden matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in six innings of work, allowing five hits and two runs.

After starting last season 0-for-18, senior infielder Blake Allemand went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on opening day.

Nottebrok went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in his A&M debut.

On Saturday, the Aggies rode senior Parker Ray’s career-high seven strikeouts to another blowout victory, beating the Huskies 11-1.

Sophomore outfielder J.B. Moss made two highlight-reel catches in right field, one over his shoulder and one leaning over the fence to rob Northeastern of a three-run home run. To cap it off, Moss hit the first Aggie home run of the season in the eighth inning.

A&M returns to action at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts Stephen F. Austin (1-1, 0-0 SCC) at Olsen Field.

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