COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies erased a four-run deficit to take the first game of a doubleheader against the Alabama Crimson Tide, 13-8, Saturday afternoon on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Trailing by scores of 4-1 and 7-3 early in the contest, the Aggies posted multiple runs in frames four through seven to outscore the Tide 10-4 down the stretch.
The Aggies pounced on the Tide for a run in the bottom of the first inning. The frame started with Patrick McLendon getting plunked by a pitch from Alabama starter Justin Kamplain. McLendon moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Blake Allemand and an infield single by Cole Lankford put runners on the corners to set up a sacrifice fly by Mitchell Nau, staking A&M to a 1-0 lead.
Alabama offered an immediate response with three runs in the top of the second inning. The Tide started the inning with singles by Kyle Overstreet, Wade Wass and Austen Smith to start the frame. William Elliott grounded out to second base, pushing Overstreet across for the equalizer. A sacrifice fly by Chance Vincent drove in Wass for the go-ahead run and Hunter Webb roped a single to leftfield to score Smith for the 3-1 advantage.
The Crimson Tide tacked on a run in the third. Mikey White hit a leadoff single to rightfield and with two outs moved to third on a seven-pitch walk issued to Wass and a balk. Smith plated White with an infield hit to short, ballooning Alabama’s lead to 4-1.
The Aggies capitalized on a Tide error in the fourth. Nau reached first to start the inning on an error by Smith at first base. Nau moved to second on a wild pitch and was replaced on the base paths by Troy Stein. Nick Banks pushed Stein to third with a groundout and Hunter Melton drew a seven-pitch walk to put runners on the corners. Logan Taylor trimmed the Alabama lead to 4-3, depositing a 2-1 pitch down the leftfield line to send Stein and Melton home.
Alabama once again responded immediately to an Aggie rally with one of their own. Ben Moore snaked a single through the left side of the infield and Overstreet gapped a single to left-center to start the inning. After fouling off two strike-two offerings, Wass launched a 3-2 pitch onto Aggie Allie to increase the Tide margin to 7-3.
Texas A&M rebounded with a four-spot in the home half of the fifth. After McLendon reached on catcher’s interference to start the inning, Blake Allemand, Cole Lankford, Stein and Banks strung together four consecutive singles with Lankford and Stein each knocking in a run and Banks loading the bases.
With the Tide lead trimmed to 7-5, Geoffrey Bramblett came in from the bullpen to relieve Kamplain and got Melton to bounce to third base, but it was too slow to turn the double play, giving Melton the RBI as Lankford came home to score. With Taylor at the plate, Bramblett uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Stein to come home with the tying run, knotting the game at 7-7.
The Aggies hung another four on the board in the sixth to take an 11-7 lead. Allemand drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning and after Lankford grounded out to second, Stein was issued a free pass on four pitches. Nick Banks slapped a single into left-center to drive in Allemand for the 8-7 lead. Melton followed with a single to center to load the bases. After Taylor flied out to center for the second out of the inning, Tide reliever Nick Eicholtz was cited for a balk granting Stein free passage home for the 9-7 lead. The cavalcade of runs was capped off by RBI singles by Statum and McLendon for the four-run edge.
Alabama took advantage of an Aggie error to trim a run off the lead in the seventh. With one out, Smith drew a nine-pitch walk and he scooted to second with two outs when Ray uncorked a wild pitch working to Vincent. Vincent lifted a lazy fly ball to centerfield, but it fell out of Statum’s glove allowing Smith to score and cut the A&M lead to 11-8.
The Maroon and White padded the advantage with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Lankford was issued a six-pitch walk to start the inning and scored when Stein hit a wall-banger to left-center for a triple. A wild pitch brought Stein home for the final run of the game.
The Aggies pounded out 14 hits for the game, paced by Banks who went 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI. Stein, who entered for Nau as a pinch-runner and remained in the game to catch, went 2-for-2 with one walk, four runs and two RBI. Lankford was 2-for-4 with one walk, two runs and one RBI.
Alabama’s No. 3 through 6 hitters all logged two hits. In the five hole, Wass was 2-for-3 with one home run, one walk, two runs and three RBI. Moore, batting third, went 2-for-5 with one run and one double. Cleanup hitter Overstreet went 2-for-5 two runs. Smith, batting sixth, went 2-for-4 with one walk, two runs, one stolen base and one RBI.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Grayson Long allowed four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two in 3.0 innings for Texas A&M. Kamplain yielded seven runs, five earned, on eight hits and one walk while striking out two over 4.0 innings.
Ray (3-2) earned the win in relief. He allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and one walk while striking out five over 6.0 innings.
The loss was hung on Jay Shaw (1-2) who allowed four runs on two hits and two walks over 0.2 innings.
The teams wrap up the twin bill and the doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch was thrown at 5:47 pm.
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