ATHENS, Georgia – The Texas A&M Aggies fell behind early and were unable to make up the deficit in a 6-1 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Foley Field.
For the second time on the weekend, the Bulldogs were unleashed in the first inning. Jared Walsh drove a leadoff single up the middle and Hunter Cole bounced a single through the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Conor Welton drove a ball deep in the hole at short where Logan Taylor made a diving snare and was able to retire Cole at second, but Walsh came home to stake Georgia to a 1-0 lead.
Georgia (16-11-1, 3-4-1 SEC) drove Aggie starter Grayson Long from the game in the fifth inning. Skyler Weber hit a wall-banger to the gap in right-center for a leadoff triple and scored on a leadoff single to shallow right-center by Mike Bell. After Walsh struck out looking for the first out of the inning, Cole belted a pitch to the wall in right-center where A&M rightfielder Nick Banks gloved it, but immediately ran into the wall, jarring the ball loose for a double to put two runners in scoring position. Aggie reliever Matt Kent came in to face Welton. The Georgia leftfielder fouled off a full count pitch before bouncing a single up the middle to plate both runners for a 4-0 advantage.
Trailing by four runs, Texas A&M squandered an opportunity to claw back into the game in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Cole Lankford singled through the left side of the infield, Mitchell Nau singled to rightfield and Hunter Melton singled to leftfield to load the bags with Ags. Blake Allemand launched a first-pitch offering into the gap in right-center, but Bulldogs centerfielder Stephen Wrenn tracked it down to keep A&M off the scoreboard.
Georgia tacked on two insurance runs in the home half of the sixth. Zack Powers gapped a double to left-center to start the inning and with one out Wrenn singled through the left side of the infield and Weber reached on an error by Kent on a sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases. An infield single by Bell drove in Bowers and Wrenn came home when Walsh was hit by a pitch, inflating the Bulldog cushion to 6-0.
Texas A&M (17-11, 3-5 SEC) got two runners aboard in the eighth with singles by Patrick McLendon and Nau, but were unable to convert the hits into runs.
The Aggies finally broke the scoring seal in the top of the ninth inning. Blake Allemand drew a walk and moved to second on an infield single by Logan Taylor. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. After Ryne Birk popped up to the shortstop for the first out of the inning, Jace Statum plated Allemand with a sacrifice fly to leftfield, cutting the Georgia lead to 6-1.
Long (3-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season. He allowed four runs on eight hits, including three doubles and one triple, while striking out two over 4.1 innings.
Georgia starter Robert Tyler (2-2) stymied Aggie hitters for the first six innings, yielding just two hits, before scattering five hits over his last two frames. He worked 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits while striking out six Aggies to pick up the win.
Nau and Taylor each logged two hits to lead the A&M offense.
The Bulldogs had four players log multiple hits on the afternoon, paced by Bell who went 3-for-4 with one double, one run and two RBI. Walsh, Cole and Bowers logged two hits apiece and Welton knocked in three runs.
The game was delayed on two separate occasions with an early morning announcement that first pitch was pushed back three hours and then a 75 minute delay after the teams completed batting practice and infield/outfield work.
The Aggies look to stave off the sweep on Sunday when they face the Bulldogs in a 12 pm Central matinee at Foley Field. To learn more about the team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @Aggie_Baseball on Twitter.