Credit to Ben Rikard | Associate Director, Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Texas A&M Aggies built an 11-1 lead and held on for a 15-10 win over Mississippi State to claim the series in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
Jack Moss delivered a four-hit game and Trevor Werner hit two of Texas A&M’s (32-23, 14-16 SEC) four home runs, including a solo shot to open a seven-run fourth inning that broke the game open. Brett Minnich also added five RBI, anchored by a grand slam in that frame.
The win gives the Aggies the edge over the Bulldogs (27-26, 9-21 SEC) in the weekend series and served as a primer for the upcoming SEC Tournament which begins Tuesday in Hoover. A&M will go into the event as the No. 10 seed and will face Tennessee in the single-elimination opening round.
Will Johnston struck out a career-high seven hitters in a 4.2-inning start, allowing just one run and taking a no-decision. Brad Rudis picked up the win in relief, moving his record to 5-0 on the year.
Mississippi State, meanwhile, entered the day needing a win and help from across the league to extend its season and earn a berth in Hoover but found out just minutes before the game that their season would be concluded at the end of the game thanks to a win by Georgia over LSU in Athens.
The Bulldogs threw six pitchers in the game with Jurrangelo Cijntje taking the loss to fall to 3-5. The switch pitcher struck out two and allowed six hits but allowed six runs.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS
Jack Moss – 4-for-6, 2 R
Brett Minnich – 2-for-5, HR, 5 RBI, 1 R
Trevor Werner – 2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, SF
Hunter Haas – 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, HBP
Will Johnston –4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
The Aggies will now turn their attention to postseason play and the opening day of the SEC Tournament. Texas A&M will enter the tournament as the No. 10 seed and will take on the No. 7 seed, Tennessee, in the second game of Tuesday’s single-elimination opening round.
B2 | MSU 1, A&M 0
The Bulldogs took an early lead when Slate Alford connected on a solo home run with one out in the home half of the second.
T3 | A&M 2, MSU 1
Austin Bost opened up the Aggie third with a single back up the middle and three batters later Hunter Haas made his first hit of the series count in a big way, slamming a two-run homer into the left-field seats to put the Aggies up 2-1.
T4 | A&M 9, MSU 1
A&M broke it open with a seven-run fourth inning that included a pair of long balls. The first came from Trevor Werner who sent the fifth pitch of the inning over the center field fence to push the lead to 3-1. Each of the next three Aggies reached base with the sacks loading up on a single by Ryan Targac. Two batters later Brett Minnich unloaded the bases with his second grand slam of the season. Max Kaufer followed that with a double to right-center and came in to score on a ground ball off the bat of Haas. Jack Moss tacked on a single to push Haas to third base and he came in to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Werner.
T6 | A&M 11, MSU 1
The game of powerball continued for the Aggies in the top of the sixth against Bulldog reliever Parker Stinnett. He punched out each of the first two hitters he faced before Moss extended the inning with a single to left field and Werner followed the base hit with his second home run of the day to push the lead to double digits.
B6 | A&M 11, MSU 6
Each of the first six Mississippi State hitters of the bottom of the sixth connected on singles, propelling the Bulldogs to a five-run inning that cut the Aggie lead in half. Alford and Wil Hoyle delivered the first two RBI singles of the inning and Connor Hujsak hit a sacrifice fly ahead of Bryce Chance’s two-out RBI single that capped the frame.
T7 | A&M 12, MSU 6
A&M only got one run despite five hard-hit balls off MSU reliever Graham Yntema. He hit Jordan Thompson with the first pitch he threw and Thompson promptly moved into scoring position by swiping second base. Three batters later Minnich laced a single into right-center field to score Thompson and pick up his fifth RBI of the game. The Aggies threatened to do more damage after a single by Kaufer had two runners on base with two outs, but Dakota Jordan made a diving catch in left-center field on a liner by Haas that ended the inning.
B7 | A&M 12, MSU 8
A walk to Kellum Clark quickly came back to haunt the Aggies when Alford’s third hit of the game split the gap in left-center field and allowed Clark to score all the way from first base to answer the Aggie run from the previous half inning. Two batters later Hoyle delivered his third hit of the game, an RBI double to score Alford and get MSU to within four runs.
T8 | A&M 15, MSU 8
Singles by Moss and LaViolette were sandwiched around a walk to Werner to load the bases to open the inning, and Thompson was then hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to force home the 13th run of the game for A&M. Targac and Bost then picked up an RBI apiece on ground balls in the infield.
B8 | A&M 15, MSU 10
The Bulldogs got their final runs of the game when Dakota Jordan connected on a two-run homer to straightaway center field with two outs in the frame.