FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Texas A&M Aggies allowed runs in each of the first three innings to fall behind 6-0 and were unable to make up the deficit in a 12-2 loss to the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Razorbacks pounced on the Aggies early with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Matt Vinson double down the rightfield line and Tyler Spoon bounced a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. Brian Anderson hit a double to leftfield driving in Vinson for the 1-0 lead. With two outs, Jordan Farris looped a single into shallow right centerfield to plate two runs for the 3-0 lead.
Arkansas (26-15, 10-7 SEC) added to the lead in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Joe Serrano singled up the middle, stole second base and scored on a single to leftfield by Vinson to inflate the cushion to 4-0.
The Razorbacks kept the offensive assault going in the third inning. With one out, Dominic Ficociello singled to rightfield and Farris followed by hitting a 1-1 offering from reliever Corey Ray over the leftfield fence for a two-run home run and a 6-0 advantage.
Texas A&M (22-18, 7-10 SEC) chipped a run off the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Krey Bratsen led off by smacking a single off the pitcher’s glove and stole second base with one out. Hunter Melton singled to rightfield and Bratsen evaded the outfield throw, which was up the line, to touch home and cut the lead to 6-1. Troy Stein singled up the middle to put two runners on with one out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the frame without closing the gap further.
Arkansas added two more runs to the lead in the fifth when Anderson worked a 0-2 count into a six-pitch walk and Ficociello followed with a two-run home run over the right centerfield fence for the 8-1 advantage.
In the seventh inning, the Razorbacks added two more runs. Anderson was issued another six-pitch walk and replaced at first by Ficociello who grounded into a fielder’s choice to second base. Farris knocked in Ficociello with a double down the leftfield line and scored on a two-out single to leftfield by McAfee for the 10-1 margin.
Arkansas kept its foot on the gas with two more runs in the eighth. The inning was highlighted by a leadoff double by Serrano and RBI triple by Vinson. Vinson completed the Razorbacks’ scoring on an RBI grounder by Spoon for the 12-2 edge.
The Aggies tacked on a run in the top of the ninth. Mikey Reynolds delivered a pinch-hit single to start the inning. It extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 38 games. JB Moss pinch-ran for Reynolds and scored when pinch-hitter Brandon Wood hit a wall-banger to the gap in left centerfield for an RBI double, trimming the lead to 12-2.
Aggie starter Matt Kent (2-2) was saddled with the loss for the Aggies. He allowed four runs on six hits over 2.0 innings of work.
Ryne Stanek (5-2) earned the victory for the Razorbacks. He yielded just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out a season-high nine over 6.0 innings of work. Michael Gunn earned his first save of the season, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out two over 3.0 innings.
Farris, McAfee and Vinson each had three hits to lead the Arkansas offense. Farris went 3-for-4 with one double, one home run, two runs and five RBI. McAfee went 3-for-4 with one double and one RBI. Vinson went 3-for-5 with one double, one triple, two runs and two RBI.
Bratsen was the lone Aggie with multiple hits going 2-for-5 with one run.
The Aggies and Razorbacks meet in the rubber match at Sunday at 1 pm. The game will be televised on ESPN2.