COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies lost the series finale to the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs, 15-4, Sunday on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The A&M pitching staff gave up season-highs for hits (19) and runs on the afternoon.
Mississippi State (30-9, 8-7 SEC) pounced on the Aggies early for a run in the top of the first. With one out, Alex Detz singled up the middle and was replaced at first when Hunter Renfroe bounced into a fielder’s choice grounder. Brett Pirtle singled down the rightfield line with two outs and Wes Rea followed with a double down the leftfield line to knock in Renfroe for the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs offense came unleashed in the top of the fourth as Mississippi State put up eight runs in the inning. The Dogs only need four hits in the inning as Aggie pitchers issued four base-on-balls and hit a batter in the frame. The inning featured a two-run single by Rea and a grand slam by Nick Ammirati who entered the game as a defensive replacement at catcher in the third inning.
Texas A&M (21-16, 6-9 SEC) showed signs of life in the top of the sixth. Jace Statum hit a leadoff single up the middle. With one out, Krey Bratsen singled to leftfield and Troy Stein drew a walk to load the bases. Ross Mitchell came in to relieve Mississippi State starter Jacob Lindgren. Brandon Wood bounced into a potential double play ball to shortstop, but Adam Frazier’s throw to second base sailed into rightfield allowing two runs to score. With runners at second and third, Hunter Melton hit sharply into a groundout to shortstop to drive in Stein and Mitchell Nau followed with a single through the right side of the infield to knock in Wood, cutting the lead to 9-4.
The Aggies would load the bases in the sixth when Logan Taylor reached on an error and Charlie Curl hit a single to rightfield, but pinch-hitter Daniel Mengden grounded out to third to halt the rally.
Mississippi State would finish off the game with a four-run eighth inning and solo home runs by Renfroe and Rea in the ninth inning.
Corey Ray (3-1) was strapped with the loss for A&M. He allowed three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out one over 3.2 innings.
Lindgren (3-1) earned the win for Mississippi State. He allowed three runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks while striking out five over 5.1 innings. Jonathan Holder picked up his 11th save of the season, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out four over 3.0 shutout innings.
Bratsen led Aggie hitters at the plate, going 3-for-5 with one run and one stolen base. Nau went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Mississippi State’s Rea led all batters on the day, going 4-for-5 with one double, one home run, three runs and four RBI. Renfroe went 3-for-5 with one double, one home run, four runs and one RBI. Ammirati went 3-for-5 with one home run, two runs and five RBI.
The Aggies begin an eight-game road swing on Tuesday with a 6:30 pm game against the Sam Houston State Bearkats in Huntsville, Texas.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach Rob Childress
On what does the team have to do to turn things around: “We have to start believing. We have to go back to believing in who we are and what we are, and playing Aggie baseball. We certainly didn’t do that the last two days. It all goes to down to getting us off to a good start on the mound and having an answer offensively.”
On situation with Mikey Reynolds’ injury: “He’s sore obviously. But I think it will be a day-to-day thing. Obviously Tuesday is probably out for sure.”
On the team’s reaction in the postgame talk: “They’re disappointed. They’re upset. They’re mad. But it’s a matter of us going and doing something about it on the field. Mississippi State beat us in every facet of the game. We have to go out and play a better game.
Junior Outfielder Krey Bratsen
On the team’s attitude: “I think that we’re underachieving. I think we have a group of guys who can be great players, but haven’t reached that level. I think I have more confidence in some of the freshmen than they do themselves. It’s a game of failure and you have to go out and have confidence in your ability and not worry about failing.”