HOUSTON -- Texas A&M has had a chance to win all 12 of its baseball games this season and Aggies coach Rob Childress said his team has just been a hit or two away from being undefeated.
"Offensively, we're doing things really well, and have been all year long," Childress said. "We were hitting .287 coming into tonight, which not a lot of teams across the county can say. But we haven't gotten hits when they mattered with runners in scoring position, and tonight we were fortunate to do that."
The Aggies got the big hits early on Saturday, beating Rice 8-3 in the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park. Blake Allemand's three-run double in the bottom of the first ignited the Aggies (8-4) and Daniel Mengden (3-0) pitched eight solid innings to get the win.
"That was a big start," said Allemand. "I was trying to be aggressive, looking for a pitch and got a big hit."
Texas A&M scored three more runs in the second against Rice starter Jordan Stephens (1-2). Getting to Stephens early was a big boost to the Aggies, who got three hits and two runs from Mikey Reynolds.
"We were able to lay off some tough breaking balls in the dirt early and he [Stephens] had to elevate some and we didn't miss them," Childress said.
While Stephens struggled early, Mengden was effective in his eight-inning stint, allowing only three runs and four hits.
A three-run home run by Michael Aquino in the fourth inning was Rice's first hit and accounted for its only runs. Aquino had two of the four hits for Rice (6-4).
Aquino's fourth home run of the season cut Texas A&M's lead to 6-3. The right-handed Mengden, who used his changeup and breaking ball effectively, as well as mixing in a slider, struck out eight and walked four against a left-handed dominant lineup.
"We got the lead early and Daniel made it stand up," Childress said.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com.