#13 Diamond Dogs Best A&M, 6-4; Move Into SEC Tourney Semifinals
The 13th-ranked Bulldogs won their sixth straight Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament game Thursday night. MSU rallied past Texas A&M 6-4 to become one of the final two unbeatens in this season’s event.
Fifth-seeded MSU will face the winner of Friday’s Vanderbilt-Texas A&M contest in Saturday’s second semifinal contest. That game is slated to start 30 minutes after the completion of the noon game and will be televised nationally on the ESPNews and also available on ESPN3.
“The most significant thing about this victory is I get to watch my daughter graduate from high school (Friday),” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “It’s a special day for her, and I’m glad I get to be a part of that. Our kids did a great job tonight. We really pitched it well. We just didn’t defend in certain sequences.”
MSU dropped behind early when Texas A&M used the bunting game and some shaky MSU defense to grab a 2-1 lead in the first inning. The Bulldogs eventually tied the contest in the fourth inning and seized control with three runs in the fifth inning.
Ben Bracewell, Ross Mitchell and Jonathan Holder continued the brilliance of the MSU bullpen. Mitchell (11-0) threw 3.1 innings of no-hit relief to tie for eighth on the all-time chart in single-season victories. Chris Stratton also won 11 games last season.
“Tonight was good,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t really get far last time I faced them but I did the same thing today. I attacked them with the fast ball. They were swinging early and getting early outs which helped my pitch count and we got some plays, too.”
In its last six tournament games, the MSU bullpen has allowed no earned runs in 43.1 innings of work, with six victories and three saves. The bullpen is 28-4 with a 1.46 earned run average and 18 saves.
Offensively, Adam Frazier continues to dominate. Frazier had his first four-hit game of the season and has now hit safely in a career best 10 straight games. Frazier is 22-of-44 all-time at the SEC Tournament.
The Bulldogs scored first when Frazier singled and later scored an unearned run in the first inning. The Aggies answered with two unearned runs on two base hits, with one error, in the home half of the first inning.
Back-to-back singles by Frazier and Alex Detz started the fifth inning. After a strikeout, Brett Pirtle lined an RBI-single to give the Maroon and White the lead. Pirtle has now reached base safely in 32 straight games and hit safely in nine straight games.
The Bulldogs expanded the lead when a critical infield error plated two more scores.
Texas A&M came right back and chased MSU started Kendall Graveman in the home half of the fifth inning. In relief, Ben Bracewell was touched for a two-run single by Blake Allemand, with both of those runs going to Graveman.
The Bulldogs got a critical insurance score on an RBI-single by Frazier in the eighth inning.
Holder closed the door on MSU’s fourth win over Texas A&M by retiring the side in order in the ninth inning for his 16th save.
MSU finished with 10 hits, including a multi-hit night by Pirtle.
Texas A&M finished with six hits. Hunter Melton was the lone multiple hitter for the Aggies. Starting pitcher Rafael Pineda (5-5) was chased during the fifth inning and took the loss.