COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Mississippi State’s offense was held in check in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series Thursday night.
Texas A&M broke open a tight contest when a grand-slam highlighted a five-run fourth inning as the No. 7 Bulldogs fells 9-2 to the No. 15 Aggies at Blue Bell Park.
MSU dropped its series opener for only the third time in eight conference weekends. MSU fell to 30-17 overall and 14-8 in league play, while Texas A&M improved to 34-13 and 14-8. The two teams are tied for second place in the Western Division, a half-game behind Auburn.
“We didn’t play sharp early in the game,” head coach Andy Cannizaro said. “We did battle but we didn’t execute well enough. We had chances and couldn’t get a bunt down. We had a tough night in a hostile environment.
“The grand slam really hurt us in the fourth inning. That switched all the momentum in the game.”
Texas A&M score three times in the second inning. MSU climbed back into the contest with two runs in the top half of the fourth inning. Texas A&M answered with five runs in the home half of the inning and tacked on an insurance score in the seventh inning.
MSU starter Konnor Pilkington (5-4) had his shortest start of the season, only lasting 3.1 innings. Pilkington allowed five hits and seven runs (all earned), with three strikeouts and four walks. Peyton Plumlee was touched for a grand slam by Texas A&M second baseman Braden Shewmake.
Jacob Barton and Brant Blaylock combined to throw the last three innings for the Bulldogs.
Texas A&M starter Brigham Hill (7-3) was lifted after hitting a batter to start the eighth inning. Hill allowed seven hits and two runs (both earned), with six strikeouts and no walks. The Bulldogs were held to one hit over the final five innings of the game.
MSU bunched three hits for a pair of scores in the fourth inning. Cody Brown and Elijah MacNamee each had RBI singles.
MSU finished with seven hits and stranded seven base runners. The Bulldogs had no multiple hitters.
Texas A&M finished with 11 hits. Nick Choruby had three hits, while Shewmake and Cole Bedford each had two hits.
The Bulldogs and Aggies will retake the field for game two on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT, with the game to air on SEC Network+ via WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.