STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State baseball team saw this weekend how quickly things can go sideways.
After taking two out of three from then No. 1-Florida last week in Gainesville, Florida, No. 2 MSU couldn’t build on the momentum and suffered its third-straight loss to No. 4 Texas A&M, 10-4 on Sunday before a crowd of 8,786 at Dudy Noble Field.
The three-game series, which was a part of Super Bulldog Weekend, drew 33,896 fans. It was the largest three-game series crowd since the 2014 Super Bulldog Weekend.
Unfortunately, MSU (24-12-1, 8-7 SEC) lost its hold on first place in the SEC Western Division and had its streak of four-straight SEC series victories end. The loss marked the first time the Bulldogs have been swept in a series this season.
“This series doesn’t define our season whatsoever, not one bit,” MSU junior third base Gavin Collins said. “We just finished up half our SEC games. I think we’re in a good spot. We just have to move on.”
The Bulldogs took a 5-4 lead with four runs in the seventh inning. Collins hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to one and Brent Rooker tripled home Nathaniel Lowe, who reached on a single, to tie the game at 4. Elih Marrero followed with an RBI double to center field to give the Bulldogs the lead.
But the Aggies (29-7, 10-5) scored four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Hunter Melton’s two-run double, to take an 8-5 lead. The tying run was scored when Nick Banks hit a ground ball that hopped over second baseman Hunter Stovall and rolled into right field to score Austin Homan.
“They took advantage of it. They felt like something special was happening, they had a lot of momentum, and they put together a big inning,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “We just had some really unfortunate things happen.”
The Aggies added two runs in the ninth.
Junior right-hander Reid Humphreys (0-1) threw 2 2/3 innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits. He struck out two and walked one. After giving up the double to Marrero, Mitchell Kilkenny (2-0) retired the last seven MSU batters to pick up the win. He allowed no runs on one hit with one strikeout.
Texas A&M scored 30 runs and had 47 hits in the series. Cohen said there is no question the Aggies are the best offense his team has faced.
“I was joking in the dugout, I’m not sure they could have gotten that many hits in BP (batting practice) with a BP pitcher throwing as they did against our pitchers,” Cohen said. “That’s a real credit to them. They’re a very good offensive team, and they played very well.”
Banks, J.B. Moss, Boomer White, and Joel Davis had three hits for Texas A&M, while Nick Choruby had two.
Collins said Texas A&M’s offense was a good test for his defense and pitching staff and feels MSU will be better because of it.
Freshman center fielder Jake Mangum led MSU with three hits, while Rooker and Marrero had two.
The Bulldogs will have today off and will practice Tuesday.
“We’re going to have a ton of energy and we’re going to get after it,” Collins said.
MSU will plays Louisiana-Monroe at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at MGM Park in Biloxi before heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on No. 9 LSU, which is coming off a three-game sweep of Missouri. MSU has road series wins against Vanderbilt and Florida.
“We have to realize we’re halfway through an SEC season and have a ton more baseball left,” Cohen said. “Everything we want to accomplish is still out in front of us and is available to us if we really take care of business. I think all of our kids are mature enough to understand that.”
n In other baseball news, Cohen said junior right-hander Austin Sexton (hamstring) wasn’t moving around great.
He injured the hamstring Saturday while trying to cover first base and threw three innings.
Cohen said his status is uncertain for the weekend.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait
Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.