Aggies finish sweep of MSU

Published 1:55 am Monday, April 18, 2016

STARKVILLE — Super Bulldog Weekend in Starkville turned into a super weekend for the Aggies instead.

Hunter Melton’s two-run double in the eighth inning gave Texas A&M the lead, and the Aggies used another late-inning surge to beat Mississippi State 10-5 on Sunday afternoon.

Texas A&M (29-8, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) finished a three-game sweep. It scored 10 runs in all three games, and 15 of the 30 runs it scored in the series were in the eighth and ninth innings.

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Texas A&M scored four runs in the eighth inning on Sunday and two more in the ninth to rally from a 5-4 deficit.

“Teams that put up a big inning are usually going to win. It was so important for us to cancel theirs out with one of our own,” Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. “That four-run inning made the eighth and ninth so much easier from a pitching standpoint.”

Mississippi State (24-12-1, 8-7) was swept at Dudy Noble Field for the first time since 2010. It allowed 10 runs in three consecutive games for the first time since 1995.

The Bulldogs entered the weekend in first place in the SEC West, but fell to third following Sunday’s loss.

“Texas A&M is a really solid offensive team,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “They do a good job and they are hot. We didn’t help ourselves on the mound to be honest. We have half the SEC season left, so hopefully the kids will respond in the right way.”

Gavin Collins hit his seventh home run of the season for Mississippi State. The two-run shot was part of a four-run rally in the seventh inning that included an RBI triple by Brent Rooker and an RBI double by Elih Marrero.

The Bulldogs led 5-4 after the seventh inning, but it quickly got away from them.

Austin Homan led off the eighth inning with a bunt single, and scored the tying run on a base hit by Nick Banks. Another single set up Melton’s double down the left field line that gave the Aggies a 7-5 lead. Melton went to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryne Birk.

“I wasn’t really trying to do too much. I was trying to stay opposite field,” Melton said. “He was coming with a two-seam (fastball). I was trying to look for something out over the plate. I was lucky to get a fastball over the plate and was able to get a good swing on it.”

Texas A&M added two more runs in the ninth on a double by Banks to stretch the lead to 10-5.

After getting at least one hit in six of the first seven innings, Mississippi State did not have a baserunner in the eighth or ninth.

Texas A&M’s Mitchell Kilkenny (2-0) retired seven of the eight batters he faced over the last 2 1/3 innings to get the win.

Banks finished the game 3-for-6 with three RBIs for the Aggies, while J.B. Moss had three hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Jake Mangum had three hits for Mississippi State.

“We showed a lot of heart,” said Texas A&M third baseman Boomer White, who was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. “We could have got discouraged after they took the lead in the seventh, but we counterpunched in the eighth and delivered the knockout runs in the ninth.”