STARKVILLE, Miss. – Behind junior right-hander Trevor Fitts’ fourth quality start of the season, the Mississippi State baseball team knocked off Texas A&M 5-1 in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series Friday at Dudy Noble Field.
The teams played six innings before a national television audience Thursday night before heavy rains in the Oktibbeha County area suspended the activity until Friday night. In the regularly scheduled Friday night game, Texas A&M bounced back to force a rubber game Saturday with a 6-3 win.
The loss snapped a six-game win streak for the Bulldogs, as they fell to 28-16 overall and 11-9 in league play. Texas A&M is now 26-18 and 9-11.
“In the second game, we hit some balls hard but didn’t have anything to show for it,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “I thought we had some really good at-bats and did not a lot of things well. In the first game, Trevor Fitts was outstanding.”
In the opening inning of Thursday’s game, the Bulldogs plated three runs. Seth Heck started the half inning with a single, while Alex Detz followed with a walk. Brett Pirtle advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Gavin Collins continued his recent tear with a two-run single to left center. The Bulldogs plate the final run of that at-bat with a wild pitch.
The lead grew to 4-0 on a Seth Heck RBI-double in the second inning.
Texas A&M broke up the shutout by scoring on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.
MSU closed the scoring when Cody Brown hit his first career home run in the eighth inning.
For MSU, Trevor Fitts (3-2) allowed five hits and one run (unearned) through six innings of work, with six strikeouts. Jacob Lindgren pitched briefly in the seventh inning, while Jonathan Holder finished the contest for his fifth save.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits, including a three-hit night by Heck and a two-hit night by Rea.
The Aggies finished with seven hits, as both Blake Allemand and Cole Lankford had multiple hits. Starting pitcher Tyler Stubblefield (3-2) took the loss.
In the nightcap, the Aggies built a 5-0 lead with four-run fifth inning off MSU starter Ross Mitchell (6-4). Myles Gentry followed with a season-high four innings of relief to give his team a chance to rally.
“Ross didn’t have his best stuff but he pitched well enough to win,” Cohen said.”Myles came in and did a great job out of the bullpen. He gave us a chance.”
The Bulldogs rallied in the fifth inning with back-to-back RBI-singles from Detz and Pirtle. In the seventh inning, a critical double by Pirtle led to a sacrifice fly by Collins. However, MSU got no closer.
The Bulldogs finished with 11 hits and matched a season high with three double plays. Detz and Pirtle each had three hits, while Heck and Matthew Britton each had two hits.
Texas A&M finished with nine hits, including multi-hit games by Cole Lankford and Nick Banks. Starting pitcher Daniel Mengden (3-6) went six innings for the win, while Ty Schlottman went the final three innings for his first save.
The series finale is at 2:15 p.m. Saturday and will be televised regionally by FSN South.