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The Battalion

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 fall to Mississippi State 5-1 as offense falters

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Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel

Junior pitcher Corbin Martin (5-3) gave up three runs in 5.2 innings Friday. 

With the Aggies trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning and Hunter Coleman on first base, Joel Davis hit a slow chopper down the first-base line. Mississippi State first baseman Brent Rooker fielded the ball, stepped on first and threw to second.
Coleman, not expecting a play to be made at second, did not slide but coasted into the bag and was easily tagged out by shortstop Ryan Gridley to complete the double play.
That one play certainly did not sway the outcome of the game, but it perfectly summed up Friday night — nothing seemed to go right for the No. 15 Aggies as they dropped the second game of the series to No. 11 Mississippi State, 5-1.
“Tonight was Mississippi State’s night,” A&M head coach Rob Childress summed it up bluntly after the game.
Corbin Martin (5-3) started on the mound for the Aggies (34-14, 14-9 SEC) and quickly gave up three runs in the first two innings. In the first inning, Rooker doubled down the left-field line and later scored on an RBI single by Elijah MacNamee. Hunter Vansau, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the contest, followed with another RBI single to give the Bulldogs (31-17, 15-8 SEC) an early 2-0 lead.
Rooker, the SEC leader in batting average, home runs and RBI, added to the lead in the second with his second double of the evening, this one a bullet off the wall in left-center field to drive in Jake Mangum, who had reached base on an error by Martin.
Meanwhile, the A&M offense could not get anything going. Blake Kopetsky blasted a home run to right in the fifth, but that was the lone blemish on MSU starter Denver McQuary’s line. McQuary (2-1) used a low-90s fastball coupled with a slow curveball to keep the Aggies off balance and off the bases.
Kopetsky’s home run was his first as an Aggie, and the Bryan native and lifelong A&M fan acknowledged the feat after the game.
“Growing up here and having birthday parties here,” Kopetsky said, “it’s an awesome feeling to finally do that.”
Texas A&M’s first six hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-23 on the night and the Aggies as a team struck out nine times.
They threatened in the third as Austin Homan singled, moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt by McQuary, and then advanced to third on a single by Walker Pennington. Homan stopped at third, but Pennington went to second on the throw to the plate and the Aggies had runners on second and third with one out. However, Nick Choruby popped out to short and Cole Bedford struck out to end the frame.
Cole Gordon relieved McQuary in the sixth and was just as dominant. He scattered four hits over four scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and walking none.
Martin settled down after a tough first couple of innings, managing to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for the rest of his outing. He finished with three runs (two earned) allowed in 5.2 innings and said he was glad he could keep his team within striking distance for as long as he did.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I felt like I competed and our guys played really good defense,” Martin said. “We could’ve folded early in the game and we stuck with it and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Martin got into trouble in the sixth and, with Rooker due up and a runner on third, Childress called on reliever Cason Sherrod to get the Aggies out of the jam.
The junior fireballer did just that, striking out Rooker on a 3-2 fastball to end the inning. The Aggies could not take advantage of the momentum, though, and did not score for the remainder of the contest.
Sherrod lasted 2.2 innings, giving up two runs, and Landon Miner got the final two outs for the Aggies. Childress did not have to use Kaylor Chafin, and the junior left-hander should be ready to pitch multiple innings Saturday if needed.
The rubber match of the series will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. Stephen Kolek will take the ball for the Aggies while MSU has yet to declare a starter. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. 

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