The Texas A&M Aggies used a four-run fifth inning to grind out a 6-3 victory over the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday evening at Dudy Noble Field.
Daniel Mengden (3-6) worked 6.0 innings to earn the win, yielding two runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out two. Ty Schlottmann earned his first career save, holding Mississippi State to one run on two hits and one walk while striking out four over 3.0 innings.
The Aggies manufactured a run in the top of the third to stake claim to a 1-0 lead. Krey Bratsen bounced up the middle for a leadoff single and stole second base with one out. After Patrick McLendon struck out for the second out of the inning, Cole Lankford plated Bratsen with a single to the gap in right-center.
Texas A&M used a four-run fifth inning to create some separation on the scoreboard. Blake Allemand lashed a single to centerfield to start the inning and came around to score when Mississippi State starting pitcher Ross Mitchell threw McLendon's sacrifice bunt offering wide of first base. McLendon moved to second on the error and advanced to third on a groundout by Lankford. Hunter Melton drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners and Nick Banks knocked them both in with a double to the gap in right-center. Banks moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single by Troy Stein to inflate the Aggie cushion to 5-0.
Mississippi State carved into the A&M lead with two runs in the home half of the fifth. Wes Rea started the inning by drawing a seven-pitch walk and Matthew Britton followed by lacing a single through the right side of the infield. With one out, Alex Detz knocked in Rea with a single through the right side and Pirtle bounced a single up the middle to send Britton home and cut the Aggie advantage to 5-2.
The Bulldogs shaved another run off the lead in the home half of the seventh. With Schlottmann in to relieve Mengden, Cody Brown drew a five-pitch walk to start the inning. With one out, Pirtle deposited a first-pitch offering down the rightfield line to put two runners in scoring position and Gavin Collins knocked in Brown with a sacrifice fly to rightfield to trim the margin to 5-3.
Texas A&M added an insurance run in the ninth. Allemand drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sac bunt by McLendon, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Ryne Birk slapped a single through the right side of the infield for the 6-3 lead.
Mitchell (6-4) was saddled with the loss, allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks while striking out two over 4.1 innings.
Banks went 2-for-5 with one double, one run and two RBI. Lankford batted 2-for-4 with one walk and one RBI. McLendon had two sacrifice bunts, one walk and one run.
Detz and Pirtle had three hits apiece for Mississippi State. Detz went 3-for-5 with one RBI. Pirtle batted 3-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI. Heck and Britton added two hits apiece.
Texas A&M and Mississippi State wrap up the three-game series on Saturday with a 2:20 pm contest at Dudy Noble Field.
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