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Aggies Drop Series Opener at Mississippi State, 5-1

April 25, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi – Coming out of a 20-plus hour delay on Friday evening, the Texas A&M Aggies were unable to cut into Mississippi State’s three-run lead from Thursday night and dropped a 5-1 decision to the Bulldogs in the series opener at Dudy Noble Field.

The game resumed in the top of the seventh inning on Friday after play halted at 8:36 pm on Thursday with inclement weather sweeping through the Golden Triangle.

On Thursday, The Bulldogs pounced on the Aggies for three runs in the home half of the first inning. Sam Heck started the frame by gapping a single to right-center and Alex Detz drew five-pitch walk. Brett Pirtle pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Gavin Collins plated them with a single to shallow left-center. Back-to-back walks to CT Bradford and Derrick Armstrong loaded the bases and Collins scored when Aggie starter Tyler Stubblefield uncorked a wild pitch to stake Mississippi State to a 3-0 advantage.

Bradford was retired at home on a squeeze bunt attempt by Demarcus Henderson. Stubblefield got out of the inning without further damage when he got Wes Rea to swing-and-miss on a 2-2 offering.

Mississippi State (28-15, 11-8 SEC) tacked on another run in the bottom of the second. Matthew Britton bounced a single through the left side of the infield and Seth Heck followed by rattling a double in the corner down the leftfield line to inflate the cushion to 4-0.

Texas A&M (25-18, 8-11 SEC) capitalized on a Mississippi State error to break the scoring seal in the top of the fifth. Krey Bratsen reached base to leadoff the frame when Rea booted a grounder at first. Bratsen was replaced at first on a fielder’s choice grounder by Jace Statum. Statum stole second base, moved to third on a groundout by Blake Allemand and scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to Bulldogs’ lead to 4-1.

When resumption of play started on Friday Texas A&M loaded the bases with one out, but were unable to cut into the lead. Patrick McLendon reached on a leadoff single up the middle off reliever Jacob Lindgren and Bratsen drew a five-pitch walk. Statum pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Allemand drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases and drive Lindgren from the game. Jonathan Holder got Mississippi State out of the jam, striking out Logan Taylor and receiving help from Rea at first who snared a line drive by Cole Lankford for the final out of the inning.

Stubblefield (3-2) was saddled with the loss, lasting just 1.0 innings plus two batters in the second inning. He allowed four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out one. Matt Kent was valiant in relief, scattering two hits while striking out four over 5.0 innings on Thursday night. Jason Jester worked both innings for A&M on Friday, allowing one run on four hits and one walk while striking out two.

Trevor Fitts (3-2) earned the win with 6.0 innings of work on Thursday. He yielded one unearned run on five hits while striking out six. Holder picked up his fifth save of the season. He worked 2.2 blank frames, allowing one hit while striking out four.

Allemand and Lankford both went 2-for-4 to lead the Aggie offense. Lankford accounted for the lone A&M extra-base hit with a double.

Heck powered the Mississippi State offense, going 3-for-5 with one double, one run and one RBI. Rea went 2-for-4.

A&M loaded the bases with one out in both the first and seventh innings, but were unable to squeeze any runs out of the frames. The Aggies stranded 10 runners in the game.

Texas A&M and Mississippi State started game two of the series at 6:39 pm on Friday.

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