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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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Late homer downs No. 1 A&M in game one of SEC Tournament

Melton and the Aggies were kept at bay on Friday.

Melton and the Aggies were kept at bay on Friday.

As the No. 1 ranked team in the country, A&M entered their Wednesday morning heavyweight bout with Vanderbilt and came out of the corner swinging. The two fighters went punch for punch in a classic postseason contest. A&M and Vanderbilt both took their licks and rolled with them.
In the end however, it was a freshman pinch-hitter that tagged-in and delivered the fatal blow.
A see-saw affair entered the late stages favoring the Aggies. However, a run in the eighth then clutch solo home run by Vanderbilt’s Walker Grisanti in the ninth inning helped the Commodores to a 6-5 win over A&M Wednesday morning.
It took a frame, but the Aggies (41-14, 20-10 SEC) were on the scoreboard first in the second inning. After Ryne Birk and Nick Banks singles, the Aggies faced two outs on the board. Jonathan Moroney delivered a two-run single off the wall that gave A&M an early 2-0 lead.
In the next at-bat, Austin Homan drove home Moroney with an RBI triple that extended the A&M lead to 3-0 after two.
Vanderbilt (43-15, 18-12 SEC) socked that early punch right back at the Aggies. With A&M starter Andrew Vinson seemingly rolling, a throwing error by Homan brought Birk off the second base bag for what was the third out, and helped the Commodores load the bases.
Will Toffey slapped a two-run single that cut the Vanderbilt deficit to 3-2. Connor Kaiser followed up the next at-bat with an RBI single that made it a 3-3 game. All three runs were unearned for Vinson.
Two-out hitting was once again a major component of the Aggie offense. A&M scored all five of their runs with two outs, going 7-for-15 from the plate in those situations.
The Aggie lineup was on two different ends of the spectrum. The top of the dangerous order struggled, as hitters one through four went a combined 1-for-17 with two strikeouts. However, the seven, eight and nine hitters produced a 6-for-10 day with five RBI, two doubles, one triple and two walks.
Julian Infante gave the Commodores the lead back in the fifth. He jacked a solo shot that granted Vanderbilt a 4-3 lead.
However, the tough to knockout Aggies came back swinging one more time. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Michael Barash got on with a single. Nick Banks followed that up with an RBI double to tie the game at 4-4.
Vinson had a solid day on the mound for A&M. The senior, in his third career start, worked six innings and allowed four runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts.
Following a walk to Moroney, Homan delivered his second RBI of the day with a single that helped A&M take a 5-4 lead with them all the way to the eighth inning.
Vanderbilt led off the eighth with three straight singles, one of them being a bunt which pitcher Mark Ecker fell down fielding, and the bases were loaded with no outs. A sacrifice fly by Kaiser drove in the tying run that made it 5-5 heading to the ninth.
To leadoff the frame, Vanderbilt decided to try freshman Walker Grisanti at pinch-hitter. The decision paid off in a big way, as the youngster crushed a solo shot to right that gave Vanderbilt a 6-5 lead.
A&M put a runner on to start the ninth, but a 3-6-1 double play ended the game.
These two have been in a similar situation before. The schools have met twice in the SEC Tournament in 2013, 2015 and might get a chance at it this year as well. In each of the last two tournaments, A&M won the first meeting with Vanderbilt winning the second.
The loss moves A&M into the losers’ bracket of the SEC Tournament. The Aggies will await the loser for the South Carolina and Ole Miss game Wednesday afternoon. The elimination game will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

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