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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies drop second game against Alabama for fifth straight loss

Photo by Abbey Santoro

Texas A&M is on a five-game losing streak after a pair of losses to Alabama Friday and Saturday.

After its fourth straight loss in game one against Alabama on Friday night, Texas A&M baseball looked to get back on track in Game 2 of the series on Saturday afternoon at Blue Bell Park. Another loss would give the maroon and white a season-high five consecutive losses and flip A&M and Alabama’s positions in the SEC West.
Alabama ultimately was able to come away with its second straight win in a 6-3 loss for A&M. A&M coach Rob Childress said there are many reasons for the losing streak, and the Aggies have to be better and respond on Sunday.
“When you talk about a five-game skid you can point at a lot of different things in each game,” Childress said. “We’ve got to be better in every area and we’re going to be. Tomorrow we’ve got an opportunity to respond – that’s what this league is about, being able to respond.”
Right-handed Senior Bryce Miller returned to the mound for Texas A&M for the first time since SEC opening weekend on March 19 against Florida due to COVID-19 protocols. His counterpart was Stafford native and junior Dylan Smith. Smith entered his eighth start of the season ranked sixth in the league in strikeouts and 23rd nationally while also leading Alabama in innings pitched and strikeouts.
It was clear early on that Miller was rusty after hitting the first batter of the game even though he induced two groundouts and a strikeout after with no runs scored. The next inning was similar as another Alabama batter was hit by a pitch with one out and then advanced to second on a wild pitch with no men crossing home.
Childress said Miller looked good in his bullpen earlier this week but his mechanics were off, and he may have been a bit amped up in his return.
“He had a good bullpen earlier in the week – we felt really good about it and I know he did too,” Childress said. “Mechanically he was very off-pitch, missed arm-side high and pulled quite a bit. Really his only pitch in command was his slider which is his fourth pitch.”
The Tide couldn’t be held in check any longer as a third Alabama hitter got hit by a pitch to lead off the third inning, which was followed by a pair of walks. The next two men brought home the first runs of the day with a single and a sac fly. Miller hit a fourth Alabama hitter and was pulled from the game with sophomore Mason Ornelas coming in relief.
Ornelas, who struck out six over the 3.2 innings he pitched, said Miller’s preparation was great and he threw 85 pitches in his bullpen this week and expects him to bounce back in his next start.
“I believe the time off can do something, but Bryce is a top-tier pitcher and he’s going to bounce back next week,” Ornelas said. “We know that for a fact.”
With men on second and third with still one out, the Crimson Tide hit two more run-scoring singles to extend its lead to 4-0. With the bases loaded and still one out, Ornelas was able to strand all three with a strikeout and a groundout.
In the top of the fourth Alabama scratched across its fifth run of the day with a one-out double that brought home the inning’s leadoff man who doubled down the right field line to get into scoring position.
A&M found the scoreboard in their half of the fourth with its only three runs of the day to cut the deficit to two with the game entering the middle innings. Sophomore Logan Britt came home from third on the wild pitch with two men out for the Aggies’ first run of the day with freshman Kalae Harrison bringing home the other two runs with a base hit up the middle into centerfield.
Junior Connor Shamblin replaced Smith in the fifth inning after he tossed 4.1 innings and 85 pitches, allowed eight hits, struck out seven, and gave up three runs. After Shamblin kept the Aggies at bay, Alabama again tallied another run with a two-out double in the top half of the sixth, making it 6-3.
Ornelas said the Aggies have way too much talent on all sides of the game for this losing streak to represent the team’s capabilities, and that they will bounce back and pick things up.
“This losing streak and record doesn’t reflect this team,” Ornelas said. “This team has a lot of talent in the bullpen, rotation, offensively, and defensively. We know what we’re capable of and this record does not reflect us.”
The loss sets back A&M to 19-14 on the year and 3-8 in conference. The Aggies will look to bounce back Sunday at home against the Crimson Tide at 1 p.m. to try and break the skid before hitting the road twice this upcoming week. Alabama becomes 18-12 and is now 4-7 in SEC play.

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