COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Junior Michael Wacha tossed 7.1 shutout innings Friday night as top-seeded Texas A&M defeated No. 4 seed Dayton 4-1 during the opening day of the NCAA College Station Regional on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
"I was proud of our team tonight," Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said. "We played with a lot of composure. It all started on the mound with Michael [Wacha]; I thought he was very sharp. From an offensive stand point, we were able to grab the lead early and able to build on that."
Texas A&M (43-16) now advances to play Ole Miss (36-24) at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday evening during a match-up of opening day winners. The Rebels defeated TCU by a score of 6-2 earlier in the day on Friday to send the Horned Frogs into an elimination contest against Dayton Saturday at 12:35 p.m. Saturday.
"Dayton played a very good game, they are very-well coached," Childress added. "They were tough to put away, they took an awful lot of pitches from Michael tonight."
A day after garnering All-American honors for the second straight season, Wacha turned in an outing befitting of the honor as the Texarkana, Texas, native allowed only five hits and held the Flyers, who lead the nation in stolen bases, to limited chances on the base paths.
Following the contest, Wacha gave credit to his defense for their support of his effort and helping to stamp out any potential rallies by the Flyers.
"It seemed like I was able to get those first two outs then walk somebody or give up a hit," Wacha said. "But my defense played good behind me, and I was able to get out of the innings without any harm."
Junior right fielder Tyler Naquin, who also received All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball on Thursday, jumpstarted the Aggie offense early as he doubled to lead off the bottom of the first inning before coming around to score the evening's first run on a RBI single by senior Matt Juengel.
Naquin also impacted the game defensively as he showed his impressive arm strength and accuracy to throw out Dayton catcher Kuris Duggan on what looked to be a single to right field leading off the top of the third.
"I felt great tonight," Naquin said. "We had the same approach from the leadoff spot all the way down to Scott [Arthur] at nine. Everybody took great at bats."
Texas A&M extended its lead by showing patience at the plate during the home half of the third as Brandon Wood and Mikey Reynolds drew back-to-back two-out walks, the last of which pushed home the Aggies' second run of the day.
Senior Jacob House, who went 3-for-5 during the contest to post his 19th multi-hit game of the season, made it 3-0 Aggies with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth.
A pair of Dayton errors conspired to swell the A&M lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh before the Flyers posted their lone run of the night when C.J. Gillman was called safe on a collision at the plate that followed an Aggie error in the frame.
Junior reliever Kyle Martin recorded four outs, including a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to record his seventh save of the year.
On Saturday, Texas A&M will send senior All-American Ross Stripling (10-3, 2.90 ERA) to the mound, where he will be opposed by Ole Miss right-hander Mike Mayers (5-3, 3.52 ERA).
Ags Open Regional with a Win
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