COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies suffered their first midweek loss of the season on Tuesday with an 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Sam Houston State (17-8) broke the scoring seal in the top of the second after Anthony Azar hit Aggie starter Ryan Hendrix’s 2-1 offering over the wall in left field, giving the Bearkats a 1-0 advantage. Ryan O’Hearn followed with an eight-pitch walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Shea Pierce drew a walk to put runners on the corners before SHSU notched back-to-back RBI singles to chase Hendrix from the game and Atwood plated the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to give Sam Houston State a 4-0 lead.
Hayden Simerly hit a leadoff single to the gap in left-center to start the fifth and scored on a one-out single by O’Hearn to balloon the Bearkats lead to 5-0.
The Aggies showed signs of life in the home half of the fifth. Logan Taylor hit a leadoff single and was replaced at first when Krey Bratsen bounced into a fielder’s choice grounder to first. Bratsen moved to third on a bunt by Jace Statum and scored when Nick Banks threaded a single through the left side of the infield, trimming the SHSU lead to 5-1.
The Bearkats re-established a five-run lead in the top of the sixth. Luke Plucheck was hit by a Jason Freeman pitch to start the frame, stole second with one out and moved to third on a single to the gap in left-center by Corey Toups. Ty Schlottmann came in to spell Freeman and uncorked a wild pitch against the first batter he faced, allowing Plucheck to score for the 6-1 advantage.
Texas A&M (17-9) had chance to shave four runs off the lead in the bottom seventh, but the rally came up inches short. With one out, Logan Taylor reached on an infield single. JB Moss followed with a seven-pitch walk and with two outs, Banks drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Troy Stein worked the count full and then launched the sixth pitch deep to leftfield, but with his posterior against the wall, leftfielder Luke Plucheck gloved the ball for the final out of the frame.
Sam Houston State tacked on two more runs in the top of the eighth inning Plucheck hit a leadoff single to leftfield. An error by relieve Corey Ray on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Colt Atwood put two runners aboard. Toups pushed both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. AJ Minter came in from the bullpen and retired Hayden Simerly swinging. After Azar was intentionally walked to load the bases, O’Hearn bounced a single through the left side of the infield to knock in Plucheck and Azar for the 8-1 advantage.
The Aggies loaded the bases to no avail again the eighth. With two outs, pinch-hitter Ryne Birk reached on an error, Blake Allemand drew a walk and Taylor was hit by a pitch to fill the bags with Ags, but Pierce made a diving snare on a looping liner by JB Moss to quell the rally.
Making his first career start, Hendrix (0-2) was saddled with the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on three hits and two walks while striking out one in 1.1 innings.
Previous Bearkats closer Jason Simms (1-1) earned the victory in his first start of the season. He held the Aggies to just one run on three hits and one walk while striking out three in 5.0 innings of work. Five Sam Houston State relievers combined to hold A&M to one hit in the last four frames.
Taylor and Banks each had two hits for the Aggies.
O’Hearn led all batters with three hits, going 3-for-4 with one run and three RBI. Plucheck went 2-for-4 with one stolen base, two runs and one RBI.
Texas A&M returns to action on Friday when the Aggies travel to Athens for a three-game SEC series against the Georgia Bulldogs. First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 pm with 12 pm start times for Saturday and Sunday.