COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies were unable to rebound from a four-run second inning by Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon in a 9-3 loss to the Bulldogs on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
With the score tied 1-1 after one inning, the Bulldogs offense was unleashed in the second inning. With one out, Nick Ammarati singled to right field. Demarcus Henderson pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Adam Frazier doubled to the wall in right centerfield to push Ammarati across for the go-ahead run. Alex Detz hit a two-run home run into the visitor bullpen down the rightfield line and Hunter Renfroe went back-to-back with a solo home run down the leftfield line to stake MSU to a 5-1 lead.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the top of the third. CT Bradford singled to rightfield to drive Aggie starter Rafael Pineda from the game. Trey Porter followed with a single to centerfield off reliever Matt Kent. Krey Bratsen bobbled the hit in centerfield, allowing both runners to scoot into scoring position. After Ammirati struck out for the first out of the inning, Henderson grounded out to second base to knock in Bradford. A triple down the rightfield line by Frazier inflated the Bulldogs cushion to 7-1.
Mississippi State (29-9, 7-7 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the top of the first inning. Frazier singled down the rightfield line and stole second base to start the inning. With one out, Renfroe reached on an infield single, but Frazier was not able to advance to third under the circumstances. Brett Pirtle bounced a sharp groundball to first base, where Hunter Melton pounced the ball to prevent a single, but his throw to second base to retire the runner at second sailed wide of the bag into leftfield, allowing Frazier to score for the 1-0 lead and put runners on the corners with one out. Wes Rea struck out and Bradford grounded out to first to end the inning.
Texas A&M (21-15, 6-8 SEC) bounced back to tie the game in the home half of the first. Reynolds beat out a throw by the third baseman on a chopper to start the frame and Bratsen knocked him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Blake Allemand singled to shallow left centerfield to put runners on the corners and Reynolds beat the tag at home on a squeeze bunt by Troy Stein to tie the game at 1-1, but the run would prove costly as Reynolds injured his knee on the play and would leave the game after playing in the field in the top of the second inning.
Brandon Wood hit a leadoff home run to leftfield in the seventh inning to cut the lead to 7-2, but Mississippi State responded with two runs in the ninth, to build a 9-2 advantage. Mississippi State’s ninth was highlighted by a RBI single by Rea and a sacrifice fly by Ammirati.
Melton, who earlier in the game got his first collegiate hit, followed with his first career home run, a solo job in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 9-3.
Allemand, Wood and Melton each had two hits apiece for the Aggies. Reynolds registered a hit in his only plate appearance before leaving the game with a knee injury. It extended Reynolds’ streak of successfully reaching base via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch to 36 games.
Four Bulldogs recorded multiple-hit games. Frazier led the way, going 3-for-4 with one walk, one stolen base, one double, one triple, two runs and two RBI. Renfroe went 3-for-5 with one home run, two runs and one RBI. Wes Rea went 2-for-5 with one double, one run and one RBI. CT Bradford went 2-for-3 with one run.
Rafael Pineda (3-3) was saddled with the loss for Texas A&M. He allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits while striking out two over 2.0 innings of work.
The Aggies will look to stave off the sweep on Sunday when they face the Bulldogs in a 1:05 pm contest at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On the team’s performance: “It’s very disappointing. Pineda threw really well for us last week and earned the opportunity to be moved up in the rotation. We suffered a disappointing loss last night, but we felt good about our chances with him on the mound today. We gave away a run in the first inning and then they got all the big hits they needed in the second. We didn’t get things stabilized until we brought Kyle Martin in to pitch. We didn’t have an answer from an offensive standpoint. Give Graveman all the credit. He did an outstanding job.
On the offense: “We never put any pressure on them the entire game. I felt like we might’ve let Mikey’s injury affect us a little more than it should have. I also think Graveman had a lot to do with that as well.”
On what to improve on for tomorrow: “They’ve got to have a short memory. I’ve said it many times this spring especially on weekends in this conference. We’ve got to be ready for tomorrow. There’s nothing we can do about today or yesterday. The only thing we can do is get ready for tomorrow. We’ve got to get after it from start to finish.”
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