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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Mississippi State mounts comeback, walks off A&M 8-7

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+baseball+has+been+eliminated+from+SEC+Tournament+contention+with+a+loss+to+LSU.
Photo by Abbey Santoro

Texas A&M baseball has been eliminated from SEC Tournament contention with a loss to LSU.

Texas A&M baseball began its third consecutive weekend series against a top five team in the country on Friday night against Mississippi State, who entered the weekend ranked No. 5. The Bulldogs were 12-3 over their last 15 with two losses coming against Vanderbilt last weekend, while the Aggies were 5-4 since they broke a six-game losing streak near the beginning of April.
A&M’s usual Friday starter Dustin Saenz was once again on the bump with lefty Christian MacLeod as his counterpart. Saenz is winless in his last three starts against Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee as opponents were able to run up the hit column against him and get them home by whatever method possible.
MacLeod meanwhile lost last weekend against Vanderbilt, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out seven. But over his three starts prior to that the southpaw combined to allow 11 hits, four earned runs, four walks and struck out 22 in 17 innings.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over A&M after a couple innings. In the first inning, an RBI single brought home the first run of the night, which was Tanner Allen who doubled home Mississippi State’s second run in the second inning with two outs. Allen finished a triple shy of the cycle and was the top performer of the night as he went 4-of-7 with two RBIs, a double and a home run.
But the Aggies retaliated a couple innings later when an error by the third baseman allowed Ty Coleman to reach base safely and advance to second while Bryce Blaum and Logan Britt both scored to even things up. Ray Alejo also scored Coleman later on in the inning with a bunt single that gave A&M a 3-2 lead heading into the fifth.
Mississippi State was able to scratch across its third run off of Saenz in the fifth inning with a groundout that scored Allen and tied the game up again. But over the next two innings the Aggies upped their lead to 7-3 after the bats of Brett Minnich and Blaum each hit solo home runs as Alejo scored another run with a base hit into left field.
Alejo was arguably A&M’s best player on the night as the leadoff hitter went 3-of-6 with two RBIs and a double. Bryce Blaum also earned two RBIs as he went 2-of-6 on the night and scored two runs.
At this point Saenz exited the game after 5.2 innings of work in which the southpaw allowed three runs on nine hits but walked only one while punching out eight. Chandler Jozwiak took his place and in his inning of work gave up a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to Tanner which cut the Aggies’ lead to one.
The Aggies looked to have this game won until the Bulldogs tied things up with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth with one out off of Joseph Menefee. Overall the A&M bullpen did not help out much Friday night as the three men who took the mound for the maroon and white allowed five runs on five hits, walked four and struck out seven.
Mississippi State’s bullpen on the other hand was pretty good as the seven pitchers they sent after MacLeod combined to give up three runs on five hits and struck out 15 in eight innings. Landon Sims was perhaps the best pitcher of the evening as he pitched the final three innings for the Bulldogs and allowed no hits and walked one while striking out seven of the ten Aggies he faced.
As the game progressed through extra innings, the Aggies’ offense that was apparent in the first seven innings disappeared with Mississippi State’s bats making noise throughout the 10th and 11th innings. Finally, it all came to a head when Allen lifted a 2-0 pitch into right field to lead off the 12th and walk it off.
The Aggies now drop to 5-14 in SEC play and 24-20 overall while the Bulldogs get their 30th win of the season. Game 2’s first pitch is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. with Game 3 on Sunday at 2 p.m. Game 2 can be watched on SEC Network+ with Game 3 on SEC Network.

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