College Baseball: Aggies baffle Texas State, post 9-2 win
COLLEGE STATION — Texas State thought it received the break it needed to work its way back into Tuesday night’s game at Texas A&M.
When Cameron Friess’ single ricocheted off the dirt and over the head of Aggies first baseman Cole Lankford to plate two runs in the fifth inning, the visitors cut its deficit to three.
Even with a fortuitous bounce, the Bobcats fizzled when they had a chance to seize or keep momentum in a 9-2 loss to Texas A&M inside Blue Bell Park.
“We had some opportunities early to score some runs and weren’t able to drive anybody in,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “It would have got some momentum in our dugout early and we weren’t able to do it. They did a good job of swinging the bat. That’s about it. They scored. We couldn’t drive anybody in early.”
All of those opportunities paled in comparison to the first inning when the Bobcats (24-21) loaded the bases with no outs.
Aggie starter Corey Ray baffled the next three hitters as Texas State didn’t push across a single run despite having the middle of its order up at the plate. Granger Studdard, Friess and finally Tanner Hill went down without hitting a ball out of the infield. Studdard and Hill popped out, while Friess struck out.
“His fastball command was good,” Harrington said of Ray. “His breaker command got better as the game went on. It wasn’t particularly great early. When he had to make big pitches, he did and he used his breaker most of the time to get out of it.”
What happened in the first inning was a sign of things to come for the Bobcats. Harrington’s team stranded 11 runners and went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position against Texas A&M.
“We just have to bear down and get it done,” said Cory Geisler, who went 2 for 5 with two singles. “We work on it all the time in practice.”
The Aggies, on the other hand, made the most of their plentiful opportunities. Texas State starter Chad Young grooved too many hittable pitches to Texas A&M’s batters, who piled up 11 hits against the junior left hander.
The Aggies packed the bases in the bottom of the first. Unlike the Bobcats, Texas A&M plated a run on an RBI single by Nick Banks, which gave the home team a 1-0 advantage.
With the bases still full, Tyler Pearson prevented any further damage when he picked up a weak ground ball off the bat of Logan Tyler. Pearson stepped on home plate and threw to first base for an inning-ending double play.
Young wouldn’t be as fortunate in the second inning. Behind a lead-off triple from Troy Stein followed by back-to-back singles and a few sacrifice flies, the Aggies extended their lead to 4-0.
Texas State crawled back into the game with Friess’ two-out, two-RBI single in the fifth inning, which cut the visitors deficit to 5-2.
“We got two runs with two outs,” Friess said. “Anytime you score those kind of runs, you usually get something going. But, we collectively didn’t get it done as a team tonight.”
In need of a shutdown inning from reliever Andrew Boes to retain the energy inside their dugout, the Bobcats watched the Aggies wrest momentum in the home half of the fifth. Texas A&M put another crooked number on the scoreboard with three runs in the frame to regain a five-run lead at 7-2.
The Aggies cruised from there as they finished Tuesday night’s tilt with 19 hits. That hit total eclipsed a previous season high of 16, which Bobcat pitchers served up to UL-Monroe on April 12.
Texas State used five different pitchers, none of whom kept Texas A&M off the base paths. Justin Dellinger came the closest with a hitless 1 1/3 innings of relief work, during which he limited the Aggies to a walk.
Now, the Bobcats will look to bounce back as they step back into conference play this weekend. Texas State plays Troy for a three-game set inside Bobcat Ballpark.
— Joe Vozzelli, Daily Record Sports