COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Mississippi State loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but the Bulldogs fell to No. 10 Texas A&M 8-7 in a Southeastern Conference series opener Friday night at Blue Bell Park.
MSU trailed 4-0 before scoring the next seven runs to take a 7-4 lead in the sixth inning. The Aggies answered with four runs in the seventh inning to take an 8-7 lead. The Bulldogs have now lost seven consecutive games and sit at 25-25 (9-16 SEC), while the Aggies improve to 31-16 (15-10 SEC).
Senior Brad Cumbest led the Bulldogs with a 3-for-4 night at the plate with four RBIs and one run, while graduate student RJ Yeager accounted for two RBIs and one run on a 2-for-5 effort. Freshman Hunter Hines also finished 2-for-5.
The Aggies were led by sophomore Jack Moss with two hits and two runs, while graduate student Troy Claunch was 1-for-4 with three RBIs and junior Austin Bost was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
Senior pitcher Brandon Smith started for MSU and allowed six runs on six hits with four strikeouts and four walks in 6 1⁄3 innings. Junior KC Hunt (2-4) was charged with the loss after entering in the seventh inning and allowing two runs on one hit with two strikeouts and two walks in two-thirds on an inning. Senior Drew Talley then got two outs in the eighth before senior Cam Tullar got the final out of the inning.
Sophomore pitcher Nathan Dettmer started for Texas A&M and went 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Junior Joseph Menefee (4-2) earned the win after allowing two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and one walk over the next 2 1⁄3 innings. The Aggies used three total pitchers in the ninth inning. Sophomore Will Johnston pitched one-third of the inning to earn his first save.
In the bottom of the first inning, sophomore Trevor Werner drew a leadoff walk and Moss followed with a double to right field to put runners on second and third. Werner was plated on a sacrifice fly before Moss scored on Bost’s RBI triple to left-center field. Junior Brett Minnich made it 3-0 with an RBI single up the middle.
Werner hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning to extend Texas A&M’s lead to 4-0.
MSU cut the deficit in half in the top of the third inning when freshman Aaron Downs hit a one-out double to center field and Yeager hit a two-out homer to left field. In the top of the fourth, junior Logan Tanner drew a leadoff walk and Hines doubled to left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. Cumbest followed with a double of his own to make it 4-3.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead. Senior Luke Hancock’s single through the right side was sandwiched between two flyouts before Hines singled to put runners on the corners. Cumbest then greeted Menefee with a three-run home run to left field.
A leadoff home run by junior Kamren James increased MSU’s lead to 7-4 in the top of the sixth inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, graduate student Kole Kaler was walked to begin things. After a flyout, a wild pitch pushed him over to second. Moss was then walked before a passed ball put runners on second and third. Graduate student Dylan Rock was then walked to load the bases before Bost drew a walk to score Kaler. After a strikeout, Claunch cleared the bases with a three-RBI double to right-center to put the Aggies ahead 8-7.
In the top of the ninth inning, graduate student Jacob Palisch got Downs and senior Tanner Leggett to fly out for two quick outs, but Yeager then singled to left field and Hancock was hit by a pitch. Junior Micah Dallas replaced Palisch and senior Brayland Skinner pinch-ran for Hancock. Skinner and Yeager moved up a base before Tanner drew a walk to load the bases. Johnston replaced Dallas and got Hines to ground out to first base to end the game.
The Bulldogs and Aggies will play the second game of the series Saturday at 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.