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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies were unable to capitalize on a three-run first inning and dropped a 5-3 decision to the Pepperdine Waves in a non-conference series opener on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Friday evening.
The Aggies pounced on the Waves early with a three-run first inning. With one out, Blake Allemand drew a walk and stole second base. Daniel Mengden reached on an infield single and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Cole Lankford bounced a single up the middle to plate both runners for the 2-0 edge. Troy Stein kept the rally going with a single to the gap in left center to put runners on the corners. With two outs and two strikes on Charlie Curl, the Aggies pulled the double steal with Stein baiting the throw to second base and Lankford sliding just left of the tag on the return throw home.
Texas A&M (4-2) had opportunities to add to the lead in the second when Krey Bratsen reached on a leadoff single, stole second and moved to third on a groundout up the middle by Mikey Reynolds, but a strikeout and groundout ended the frame.
The Aggies got the leadoff man aboard again in the fourth with a bunt single by Curl, but Jace Statum's sacrifice bunt attempt did not get out far enough in front of the catcher and Curl was retired at second base. Statum was caught stealing and Bratsen struck out to quell the rally.
Another leadoff runner was erased in the fifth inning when Reynolds reached on a single, but was caught stealing.
Pepperdine (5-1) shaved two runs off the lead in the top of the sixth inning. David Oppenheim singled up the middle to start the frame and, with one out, Hutton Moyer was hit by a pitch to put two aboard. Austin Davidson broke the scoring seal for Pepperdine with a single to leftfield, plating Oppenheim. After Sam Meyer singled to load the bases, Chris Amezquita hit a slow grounder to second base and the Aggies could only get the out at first, allowing Moyer to score and trim the lead to 3-2.
A&M was able to get a pair of runners on with one out in the seventh, but were unable to manufacture a much-needed insurance run. With one out, Statum singled to leftfield and Bratsen drew a walk, but a flyout by Reynolds and groundout by Allemand dried up the rally.
The Waves took their first lead of the game in the eighth inning. Ranny Lowe hit a single to rightfield, driving A&M starter Kyle Martin from the contest. Matt Kent came in from the bullpen and allowed a bunt single by Moyer and a sacrifice bunt by Davidson to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Zach Brashear replaced Kent on the mound and allowed a two-run single by Meyer for the 4-3 advantage. Meyer went to second on the throw home and, with two outs, advanced to third on a passed ball. Nate Johnson tacked on an insurance run for Pepperdine with a single up the middle, plating Meyer for the 5-3 advantage.
Martin registered the longest outing of his career, going 7.0 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits while striking out six. Matt Kent (0-1) was saddled with the loss. He allowed one run on one hit over 0.1 innings.
Scott Frazier started for Pepperdine, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight. Eric Karch (2-0) earned the win in relief with 1.1 shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Michael Swanner picked up his first save of the season with two hits and one strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
Lankford went 2-for-4 with one run, two RBI and one stolen base. Jace Statum went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and Reynolds went 2-for-5 with a steal.
Meyer, Moyer, Johnson and Oppenheim all went 2-for-4 for Pepperdine. Moyer had two runs and Meyer logged two RBI.
The Aggies and Waves return to action on Saturday with a 6:05 pm contest at Blue Bell Park.
MSU Edges Purdue
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Sophomore relief ace Jonathan Holder retired all four batters he faced, three via strikeouts, as No. 5 Mississippi State (6-0) eased past defending Big Ten Conference champion Purdue 3-2 in a rain-delayed game Saturday night at Dudy Noble Field.
Freshman Jacob Robson broke a 2-2 deadlock in the eighth inning with a sacrifice line-drive to left, setting the stage for Holder's first win of the campaign.
Mississippi State's 6-0 start is its best since 2006.
"We played a solid, quality Purdue ball club and had some pretty good swings tonight... we just didn't have a lot to show for it," said State coach John Cohen. "I thought we did a nice job of focusing after the rain delay."
The Bulldogs had two runners on base with two outs in the seventh inning in a 1-1 game when rain forced suspension of play. Some 91 minutes later the game resumed, and PU pitcher Mike Lutz struck the next two batters he faced, Mitch Slauter and Hunter Renfroe, to load the bases and drive in the go-ahead run for the Bulldogs.
The lead was short lived. Purdue got a pair of two-out hits in the ninth off relief pitcher Luis Pollorena, the second an RBI double into the right field corner by Kyle Wood that tied the score at 2-2.
In the home half of the eight, Alex Detz drew a lead-off walk. Pinch-runner Derrick Armstrong then stole second, advanced to third on an errant throw to second base, and then raced home with the winning run on Robson's smash line-drive to the leftfielder. McElroy (0-1), the third of four Boilermaker hurlers in the game, took the loss.
Holder earned his third career win and first of the season, fanning three of the four batters he faced. He now has two wins and 10 saves in his last 14 mound career appearances of 2012-13. This year he has retired 13 of 14 batters faced, 11 with strikeouts.
Starting pitchers Jacob Lindgren and Jordan Minch allowed one hit and three hits respectively as the duo dueled in shutout fashion over the first five frames.
Purdue broke the deadlock when Kyle Johnson opened the sixth with a single and touched home later on Sean McHugh's bases-loaded infield groundout. Rookie relief man Myles Gentry got the final two outs in the frame to douse the Boilermaker rally.
Minutes later in the bottom of the sixth Bulldog junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe evened the score, launching a season-first home run to left.
The game, whose start was delayed 24 minutes by rain, was then suspended by rain with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and State threatening.
Shortstop Adam Frazier collected a pair of singles and Renfroe drove in two of MSU's three runs while Purdue lead-off hitter Brandon Krieg singled twice for Purdue.
Lindgren struck out six and did not walk a batter in 5.1 innings of no-decision mound work.
Minch gave up a run on four hits and struck out five in over innings.
In the earlier game, Purdue erupted for five runs in the eighth inning to top Samford 9-4. Second baseman Brandon Krieg and Conner Hudnall collected four hits each to lead the Boilermaker's 16-hit attack.
The Bulldogs resume play Saturday in the inaugural Diamond Classic presented by Polk's Meat Products, taking on Samford (4-2) at 3 p.m. and Purdue at 6 p.m. A pair of right-handers, junior Evan Mitchell (0-0, 1.80) and senior Kendall Graveman (1-0, 0.00), have been designated for Saturday starts.