COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M Aggies suffered their first loss of the season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Sacramento State Hornets in non-conference action Friday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Daniel Mengden and Andrew Vinson combined to allow just three hits over 9.0 innings in the losing effort. Mengden (1-1) was saddled with the loss yielding one unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out nine in 7.0 innings of work. Vinson retired all six batters he faced over 2.0 innings, including two strikeouts.
Texas A&M (4-1) was doomed by two errors on the defensive side and three double plays at the plate.
Sacramento State (4-2) scored its lone run in the fourth inning. Rhys Hoskins reached on a throwing error by Aggie shortstop Patrick McLendon. Hoskins was replaced at first base by pinch-runner Brandon Hunley due to injury. After Mengden struck out Will Soto for the first out of the inning, Clay Cederquist singled to rightfield to put runners on the corners. Mengden fanned Randy Burcham on four pitches for the second out, but David Del Grande broke the scoring seal by bouncing a single through the left side of the infield to plate Hunley for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies’ first double play came in the third inning. The mercurial JB Moss drew a leadoff walk, but before he could get moving around the bases, Jace Statum laced a line drive that Burcham stabbed at shortstop. Burcham was able to apply the tag on Moss, who was approaching second base, to complete the double play.
In the fourth inning, Troy Stein reached on a bunt single to leadoff the frame, but Ryne Birk bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. The twin-killing would prove costly as Moss followed with a wall-banger to leftfield for a double. Moss was stranded at second when Statum struck out to end the inning.
The final double play came in the sixth inning. With one out Blake Allemand reached on a single, but a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play closed the books on the frame as Nottebrok struck out swinging and Allemand was caught stealing at second.
Ty Nichols (2-0) earned the victory for Sacramento State, scattering six hits and one walk while striking out two over 7.0 innings. Sutter McLoughlin set down all six batters he faced to earn his third save of the season.
The Aggies’ Hunter Melton and Stein were the only players to record multiple hits. Melton went 2-for-4 and Stein went 2-fo-3 three.
The Aggies and Hornets return to action Saturday evening on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park where first pitch for game two is slated for 6:35 pm.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On Sacramento State's pitching...
"They made pitch after pitch after pitch and were able to get the ball to their closer. They got the big hit tonight and we didn't."
On the error by Patrick McLendon...
"It's tough. Patrick's been our hero through the early point of the season. He made a mistake tonight and we weren't able to cover it up for him. I thought we hit a lot of balls hard, but give their defense credit. They made all the plays and never buckled under the pressure. They played almost perfect baseball tonight."
On Daniel Mengden's performance on the mound...
"I thought he was pretty good, maybe even better than he was last week. He had a little bit of a rough patch there when he gave up the run, but other than that he was solid."
Senior catcher Troy Stein
On the performance by both pitchers...
"Mengden was Mengden. He's going to come out and not give up a whole lot of runs. Their pitcher was pretty good. He stayed down in the zone. We hit some balls hard that just didn't find the hole for us tonight. They played better than we did. We outhit them, but we had two errors. We're going to have physical errors. We have to be able to score more than one run. They played a good game. We just need to play better."
On how the game played out...
"That's baseball. My dad always used to say 'hit it where they ain't.' We didn't do that tonight. We have to still be able to find a way to win games like this. My hat's off to them; they played a great game."
Junior pitcher Daniel Mengden
On the team's performance...
"The guy on their side threw his tail off. We hit a lot of balls hard. That's how baseball goes sometimes."
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