NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The Texas A&M Aggies handed the No. 7 Vanderbilt Commodores their first home series loss since April 2012 capturing the rubber match 8-2 Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The last time Vanderbilt dropped a home series was March 29-April 1, 2012 when South Carolina took two of three from the Commodores.
Krey Bratsen had a stellar day on offense going 3-for-3 with one walk, two doubles, two stolen bases, two runs and two RBI. Troy Stein went 2-for-4 with two runs.
The Aggies delivered the first punch in the top of the first inning. Blake Allemand led off the inning by roping a single to centerfield and moved to second when the ball was mishandled by outfielder John Norwood. A passed ball moved Allemand to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Cole Lankford. Jonathan Moroney followed by lofting a first-pitch offering over the 35-foot monster-like fence in leftfield for his first home run of the season and a 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M (22-15, 7-8 SEC) tacked on a run in the second. Stein started the inning by gapping a single to left-center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt Ronnie Gideon. Rhett Wiseman made a diving catch in the right-center to rob Jace Statum of an extra-base hit, but Bratsen followed by blooping a ball down the rightfield line for an RBI double and the 3-0 advantage.
Vanderbilt (27-10, 7-8 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the home half of the third inning. John Norwood started the inning by poking a single to rightfield and single down the leftfield line by Jason Delay put runners on the corners. Dansby Swanson knocked Norwood in with a sacrifice fly to rightfield to cut the Aggie edge to 3-1.
The Aggies continued the cavalcade of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Nick Banks roped a single through the right side of the infield and with the hit-and-run on Stein bounced a single through the spot vacated by the Vanderbilt second baseman going to cover the bag putting runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly by Gideon plated Banks and Stein scurried to second on the play just sliding under the tag. Bratsen laced a double down the rightfield of the line, scoring Stein to push the margin to 5-1.
Vanderbilt took advantage of a defensive lapse to score a run in the home half of the fourth. With two outs in the frame Nolan Rogers bounced a grounder to the glove side of Allemand at second, but Lankford wandered away from first in pursuit of the ball and Aggie starting pitcher Grayson Long was unable to get to the base for the throw allowing Rogers to reach with the single. The next Vanderbilt batter made A&M pay for the miscue as Wiseman slapped a double down the rightfield line to drive in Rogers and narrow the chasm to 5-2.
The Maroon and White scored two insurance runs in the seventh. After Jace Statum drew a walk and Bratsen reached on an infield single, Vanderbilt third baseman Xavier Turner sent the throw on a sacrifice bunt by Allemand wide of first base allowing Statum to score. Bratsen scored the second run on a wild pitch and the Aggies took a 7-2 lead into the seventh inning stretch.
Bratsen helped A&M manufacture a run in the top of the ninth. The senior drew a five-pitch walk to start the inning, stole second base and moved to third with a groundout by Blake Allemand. After Logan Taylor was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, Lankford pushed Bratsen across with a sacrifice fly and staked the Aggies to an 8-2 lead.
Long (4-1) weaved through 7.2 innings of work, allowing two runs on 11 hits and one walk while striking out four to pick up the win. Tyler Stubblefield struck out three of the four batters he faced in 1.1 innings to close out the game.
Tyler Ferguson (5-2) was saddled with the loss for Vanderbilt. He allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits and one walk while striking out five over 6.0 innings.
Vanderbilt had four different players log two hits, including Swanson, Turner, Rogers and Delay.
Texas A&M returns to action on Wednesday when the Aggies host Abilene Christian in a 6:35 pm contest on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.