COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies lost 11-4 in SEC action on Saturday afternoon as the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats clinched the series win on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
The Aggies succumbed to 17 hits by the Wildcats. Max Kuhn was 4-for-6 with four runs, two doubles, one home run and two RBI. AJ Reed went 4-for-6 with two runs, one double, home run and four RBI. Michael Thomas and Ka’ai Tom both logged two hits.
Texas A&M (23-17, 7-10 SEC) was led by Blake Allemand who went 3-for-4 with one walk, one run and one RBI. Nick Banks went 2-for-4 with one triple. Patrick McLendon entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and went 2-for-2 with a run.
The Maroon and White took the early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Allemand started the inning by slapping a single to rightfield. Logan Taylor drew a walk and Cole Lankford put down the sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position. Logan Nottebrok hit a sharp grounder to short to knock in Allemand for the 1-0 lead. Nick Banks followed with a single to the pitcher to put runners on the corners, but the Aggies were unable to add any more runs.
Kentucky (26-13, 9-8 SEC) tied the game in the third with an RBI single by Ka’ai Tom and took the lead in the fifth with an RBI single by Reed.
The Wildcats started to add separation in the top of the sixth. JaVon Shelby belted a wall-banger down the leftfield line for a triple and scored when Aggie outfielder Jonathan Moroney mishandled the ball before throwing home to give Kentucky a 3-1 lead.
Kentucky started the seventh inning with a double by Kuhn and a home run by Reed to take a 5-1 advantage.
The Wildcats put up four runs in the eighth to build a 9-1 cushion. An RBI double by Reed was followed by RBI singles by Michael Thomas, Thomas Bernal and Storm Wilson.
A two-run home run by Kuhn in the ninth gave Kentucky an 11-1 edge.
A&M mounted a rally in the ninth, but it proved to be too little. Jace Statum and Ryne Birk started the frame with back-to-back pinch-hit singles and McLendon singled through the left side of the infield to load the bases. Mitchell knocked in a run with a grounder to second and Allemand and Taylor both plated runs with singles to cut the Wildcat lead to 11-4. A fly out by Lankford and strikeout by Nottebrok ended the game.
Daniel Mengden (2-6) was saddled with the loss allowing four, three earned, on nine hits and one walk while striking out five over 6.0 innings.
Dylan Dwyer (5-1) earned the win for Kentucky. He allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out four over 6.2 innings.
Texas A&M will look to stave off the sweep on Sunday with a 12:05 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
A&M Head Coach Rob Childress
On the bullpen…
“The bullpen really let us down today. Eight of the 11 runs we gave up were out of the bullpen. (Dylan) Dwyer did an outstanding job. He pitched well and kept his pitches down in the zone. The most disappointing thing was the bullpen today. Every move we made seemed to backfire on us.”
On Daniel Mengden’s performance…
“I thought he competed really well. He gave us a chance. The third inning could’ve gotten away from us when we loaded the bases with no outs, but we were able to get out of it. He kept battling.”
On AJ Reed…
“He’s a great player. There’s very few of those two-way players in the country. He’s fun to watch. If you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay. He’s a competitor. He loves the game of baseball. I’d love to have him on my team.”
On tomorrow’s game…
“We’ve got to be able to bounce back tomorrow. They’re a good offensive club and we’ve got to be able to match that and find a way to stop them.”
Junior infielder Blake Allemand
On AJ Reed…
“He’s a special talent. He’s hitting every ball hard. He’s hitting balls of the wall. He pitched his butt off last night. He’s the real deal.”
On bouncing back…
“We’ve got to play better and pick it up. We got a little flat towards the middle of the game. We’ve got to hold each other more accountable and come get a win tomorrow to salvage this weekend.”