Tigers Even Series with Aggies, 7-4
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies made a late charge in Saturday’s portion of rain-delayed game two, but lost a 7-4 decision to the No. 3 LSU Tigers.
The loss evened the weekend series at 1-1 with the finally starting shortly after on Saturday.
Play picked up on Saturday morning with the LSU Tigers leading 7-2 after six innings. After a scoreless top of the seventh inning for the Tigers, Daniel Mengden blasted a 1-1 offering from reliever Joey Bourgeois over the leftfield fence to start the inning, trimming the gap to four runs.
Texas A&M (27-23, 11-14 SEC) mounted a rally in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Cole Lankford hit a wall-banger to the gap in right centerfield for a double. Troy Stein blooped a single into shallow centerfield to put runners on the corners. Hunter Melton laced a single through the left side of the infield, plating Lankford and cutting the lead to 7-4. Mengden came to the plate as the tying run, but a 5-4-3 double play ended the frame.
The Tigers drew first blood in the top of the second inning. Raph Rhymes poked a single to the gap in right centerfield and Christian Ibarra followed with a single to leftfield. Ty Ross sacrificed both runners into scoring position with a bunt back to the pitcher for the first out of the inning. Jacoby Jones plated the first run of the game with a single through the right side of the infield, plating Rhymes. Andrew Stevenson sent Ibarra home with a sacrifice squeeze bunt. Sean McMullen capped off the rally with a double down the rightfield line to score Jones for the 3-0 lead.
LSU (44-7, 20-6 SEC) tacked on three more runs in the top of fourth. With two outs, Jones singled to centerfield and Stevenson drew a five-pitch walk to put a pair on. McMullen knocked in Jones with a single to rightfield and Jared Foster plated Stevenson with a single to the gap in right centerfield for the 5-0 lead. The final run of the inning came on a passed ball, allowing McMullen to score for the six-run lead.
The Tigers inflated the cushion to 7-0 in the sixth. With one out, Stevenson singled to centerfield and scored on a double down the rightfield line by McMullen.
Texas A&M trimmed two runs off the lead in the home half of the sixth. Krey Bratsen and Jace Statum both bounced singles up the middle to start the inning. Mikey Reynolds grounded into a fielder’s choice putout retiring Bratsen at third, but the throw to first in an attempt to complete a double play was wide and the error put Statum and Allemand in scoring position. Blake Allemand knocked in the duo with a single to centerfield, cutting the lead to 7-2 before the storm rolled in, halting play on Friday evening.
Stein went 3-for-4 with a double to lead the Aggies hitters. Statum went 2-for-3 as the only other Aggie with multiple hits.
McMullen led the LSU assault going 4-for-4 with two doubles, one run and three RBI. Rhymes went 3-for-5 with one run. Katz and Jones chipped in with two hits apiece.
Matt Kent (2-3) was strapped with the loss, allowing three runs on six hits over 1.2 innings. Corey Ray pitched all 3.0 innings on Saturday. He did not allow a run, scattering five hits and one walk while striking out two.
Aaron Nola (10-0) earned the win for the Tigers. He allowed two runs on six hits while striking out four over 6.0 innings. Chris Cotton picked up his 11th save of the season, retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth, including one strikeout.
The Aggie outfield showed off a pair of cannons as Statum threw out a runner at second from rightfield and Jonathan Moroney gunned down a runner at home from leftfield.