COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 24 Texas A&M was able to produce scoring opportunities with seven hits, including three doubles, and three walks, but the Aggies were haunted by three double plays in a 3-2 loss to the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Friday evening.
After double plays foiled rallies for the Aggies in both the first and second innings, Texas A&M drew first blood in the bottom of the third inning. Logan Taylor looped a single into shallow right centerfield to start the frame. Mississippi State pitcher tried to get the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Charlie Curl, but Bulldog shortstop Adam Frazier dropped the ball to put two runners on. Mikey Reynolds pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Krey Bratsen followed by gapping a two-run double to right centerfield and the Aggies staked claim to a 2-0 lead.
Bratsen stole third base to put a runner on third with one out, but Blake Allemand popped up to first base and Troy Stein flied out to centerfield to end the inning.
The Bulldogs gnawed a run off the lead in the top of the fourth. With one out, Alex Detz was issued a six-pitch walk and scored when Hunter Renfroe deposited a 2-2 offering down the leftfield line for an RBI double.
Mississippi State (28-9, 6-7 SEC) scored an equalizer in the top of the fifth. With two outs, Sam Frost singled up the middle and pinch-hitter Demarcus Henderson and Frazier drew walks to load the bases. Frost scored, to tie the game at 2-2, when Aggie starting pitcher attempted to pick off Henderson at second base and his throw bounced past shortstop Mikey Reynolds into centerfield.
The Bulldogs finally fetched the lead in the top of the sixth when Renfroe hit a 0-1 offering over the leftfield fence for a leadoff home run, giving Mississippi State the 3-2 advantage.
Texas A&M (21-14, 6-7 SEC) got two runners in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the seventh when Hunter Melton drew a walk and Logan Taylor doubled to leftfield, but pinch-hitter Mitchell Nau’s fly ball to rightfield was too shallow to drive in Melton and Reynolds struck out looking at an inside pitch to end the frame.
The Aggies put runners at the corners with one out in the home half of the eighth when Allemand singled up the middle and Stein singled through the left side of the infield, but Jonathan Moroney bounced into an inning ending double play, A&M’s third of the game.
Texas A&M also missed a prime scoring opportunity in the first inning when Reynolds hit a leadoff double, marking his 35th consecutive game reaching base at least once via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch. Bratsen grounded out back to the pitcher for the first out of the inning, but Allemand drew a walk to put two runners on. Stein ended the inning by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
Mengden (4-2) was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs, two earned on four hits and three walks while striking out seven over 7.0 innings. AJ Minter retired both batters he faced to start the eighth inning and Parker Ray finished the game for the Aggies, allowing one hit in 1.1 scoreless frames.
Luis Pollorena (6-1) picked up the win for the Bulldogs. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out two over 6.1 innings. Jonathan Holder earned his 10th save of the season, scattering two hits and striking out four over 2.2 innings.
Taylor was the lone Aggie to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with one double and one run scored.
Renfroe accounted for most of the damage for Mississippi State, going 2-for-4 with one double, one home run, one run and two RBI.
Texas A&M and Mississippi State face off in game two of the series at 12:35 pm Central. The game will be televised on the Fox Sports Network, with availability varying based on region.
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