Credit to Ben Rikard | Associate Director, Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Amani Larry hit a walk-off, two-run home run for Mississippi State to cap a three-run ninth inning and give the Bulldogs a 10-8 win over Texas A&M in the series opener on Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Ryan Targac homered twice and drove in four runs for the Aggies (30-23, 12-16 SEC) who held a 7-2 lead before the Bulldogs (27-24, 9-19 SEC) came all the way back to keep their hopes for a berth in the SEC Tournament alive.
Texas A&M was unable to take advantage of drawing 15 walks from Bulldog pitchers, stranding 16 runners on the bases in the game.
Nathan Dettmer got the start and logged 4.2 innings before giving way to the bullpen. Brandyn Garcia was saddled with the loss, falling to 2-3 on the year after 2.1 innings of work.
Reliever Nate Dohm got the win for MSU, his sixth victory of the year after tossing a scoreless ninth.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS
Ryan Targac – 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI, BB, 3 R
Jack Moss – 2-for-4, 2B, 1 R, RBI, BB
The Aggies and Bulldogs will battle in the middle game of the series on Friday at Dudy Noble Field with first pitch set for 6 p.m.
B2 | MSU 1, A&M 0
A leadoff walk to Dakota Jordan was costly for Nathan Dettmer, but it was complicated by an uncharacteristically poor defensive play on a single by Kellum Clark. The hit looked to put runners on the corners, but A&M made a pair of throwing errors on the play, allowing Jordan to score to give the Bulldogs the lead.
T3 | A&M 1, MSU 1
A double by Ryan Targac to lead off the third was followed by consecutive walks to Max Kaufer and Hunter Haas, loading the bases for the Aggies with nobody out. Jack Moss quickly tied the game with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field, but A&M was unable to push across any more scores.
B3 | MSU 2, A&M 1
The Bulldogs got a leadoff double off their own in the third when Amani Larry hit a liner off the ankle of Dettmer that found its way into the Aggie bullpen up the first-base line to get Larry onto second base. A sacrifice bunt by Ross Highfill pushed Larry up to third and he came in to score one batter later on a sure single to center field by David Mershon.
T4 | A&M 6, MSU 2
A&M drew five more walks in the fourth, but it was Targac who provided the big swing in a five-run frame. Targac followed consecutive walks to Brett Minnich and Austin Bost by blasting a three-run homer out to right field to surge the Ags ahead 4-2. Two more walks and a single by Trevor Werner then loaded the bases with one out in the inning and Jace LaViolette picked up an RBI by drawing a free pass of his own with the sacks juiced. One batter later Jordan Thompson beat out a potential double play grounder to bring home Moss with the final run of the frame.
T5 | A&M 7, MSU 2
Bost and Targac each walked to open the Aggie half of the fifth and after a strikeout of Max Kaufer, the Bulldogs could not turn a double play on a grounder to second base by Haas. That extended the inning and cost MSU a run when Bost scampered home on a passed ball on the very next pitch.
B5 | A&M 7, MSU 5
The Bulldogs strung together a two-out rally to claw back into the game, starting the rally with a two-out walk to Hunter Hines. A single by Dakota Jordan and another walk loaded the bases against Aggie reliever Evan Aschenbeck. Slate Alford then socked a double into the right-field corner that cleared the bases and drew MSU to within two runs.
B6 | A&M 7, MSU 7
Larry cut the Aggie lead to one when he blasted a solo home run out to left-center on the first pitch of the sixth. The Bulldogs kept the pressure on with a one-out walk to Mershon and a single by Colton Ledbetter to put runners on the corners and set up Hunter Hines who hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 7-7.
T7 | A&M 8, MSU 7
Targac’s big night continued as he answered Larry’s leadoff homer in the sixth with a leadoff homer of his own in the seventh, his second of the night, to put the Aggies back in front.
B9 | MSU 10, A&M 8
The Bulldogs needed some magic on their home field in the ninth and that’s just what they got to walk off with the win. It all started with a leadoff walk by Jordan and two batters later pinch hitter Bryce Chance worked a free pass of his own to really put the threat in motion. The Aggies turned to Will Johnston out of the bullpen and he immediately got Luke Hancock to ground out, but both runners advanced into scoring position. A wild pitch scored Jordan to tie it up and Larry capped the at-bat when he left the yard for the second time for the game-winner.