COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In a game slated for seven innings, the Texas A&M Aggies had the potential walk-off runner on second base with one out in the seventh, but were unable to capitalize, losing the series finale to the No. 3 LSU Tigers, 2-1, in eight innings at Blue Bell Park on Saturday afternoon.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the seventh, Brandon Wood hit a leadoff single to centerfield. Krey Bratsen attempted to bunt him into scoring position, but popped up to the catcher in foul territory for the first out of the inning. Jace Statum followed with a single up the middle putting two runners on base. LSU closer Chris Cotton came in to relieve starter Ryan Eades and got Mikey Reynolds to bounce the first offering to the shortstop for an inning-ending double play.
Ty Ross sparked the Tigers’ game-winning rally when he doubled into the gap in left centerfield to start the eighth. Jared Foster pitch-ran for Ross and moved to third when Stevenson put a bunt down the third-base line for a single. McMullen hit a 0-2 offering to deep rightfield, knocking Foster in with the sacrifice fly and a 2-1 lead. LSU would eventually load the bases, but were unable to add insurance runs.
Cotton yielded a one-out single to Cole Lankford in the home half of the eighth, but a pop up to shortstop by Troy Stein and a groundout by Hunter Melton ended the game.
The Aggies missed out on a golden opportunity to pounce on the Tigers early in the bottom of the first. Reynolds singled up the middle to start the inning and stole second base. Blake Allemand drew a walk and both runners were pushed into scoring position when Lankford grounded out to first base. The Aggies were unable to harvest a run in the inning as Stein flied out to rightfield and Melton flied out to leftfield.
LSU (45-7, 21-6 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the top of the third. Ty Ross drew a six-pitch walk to start the inning and Andrew Stevenson poked a single through the left side of the infield. The Tigers loaded the bases when Sean McMullen singled to centerfield. The Aggies got the first out of the inning when starter Parker Ray caught Stevenson wandering off second base for the pick-off. LSU staked claim to a 1-0 lead when Mark Laird laced a single through the right side of the infield. A&M avoided further damage as Ray induced a double play grounder by Alex Bregman to end the frame.
Texas A&M (27-24, 11-15 SEC) knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Daniel Mengden hit a slow roller to a charging Bregman at shortstop. Bregman attempted to bare-hand the grounder but it bounced away and Mengden ended up at second base as a result of the hit and error. After Wood was hit by a pitch, Krey Bratsen singled to centerfield, driving in Mengden for the tying run. The Aggies were unable inflict further pain as Wood was caught trying to steal the hot corner for the third out of the inning.
In the fifth, Reynolds threaded a single through the left side of the infield and stole second base with one out, but back-to-back fly outs to centerfield by Allemand and Lankford stranded him on the base paths.
Jester (2-3) was strapped with the loss allowing one run on three hits and one walk over 2.2 innings. Ray was left with a no-decision despite a solid start, allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five over 5.1 innings.
Cotton (3-1) earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit but inducing a double play. Eades allowed one run on eight hits and one walk while striking out one over 6.1 innings.
Reynolds, Bratsen and Statum each had two hits for the Aggies. Reynolds added a pair of stolen bases.
Mark Laird led the Tiger offense, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Andrew Stevenson went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Texas A&M wraps up the home schedule on Tuesday with a 6:35 pm contest against the UT Pan American Broncs on Olsen Field.