March 4, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Michigan State baseball team got off to a hot start with four runs in the first inning, but fifth-ranked Texas A&M came back to defeat the Spartans, 9-8, Sunday afternoon at Blue Bell Park.
The Aggies, who went to the College World Series last season, improved to 11-1 and completed the three-game series sweep over the Spartans (4-6).
In the top of the first, the Spartans took advantage of three Aggies errors to score four unearned runs. After scoring the first two runs courtesy of Texas A&M miscues, freshman Jimmy Pickens made the Aggies pay by hitting his first collegiate homer, a two-run shot to right field, that put MSU up, 4-0.
Texas A&M scored unearned runs in the second and fourth innings off of Spartan starter Mike Theodore to cut the lead to 4-2. The Aggies chased Theodore in the fifth as his pitch count reached 96 following a one-out walk, but reliever Jeff Kinley got out of the frame unscathed. Theodore allowed three hits and four hits while striking out two in his 4 1/3 innings of work.
The Aggies did get to Kinley in the sixth, scoring three runs in the inning to go up 5-4, led by Jacob House's two-run single.
Texas A&M scored four more in the bottom of the seventh to take a 9-4 advantage, keyed by back-to-back run-scoring triples from Mikey Reynolds and Tyler Naquin.
The Spartans rallied back with three runs in the top of the eighth to make it 9-7. Jared Hook delivered an RBI double to left field that scored Pickens, then freshman Ryan Krill hit an inside-the-park homer to left to drive in two runs.
Michigan State threatened in the ninth by scoring one run on a Jones RBI single and placing runners on first and second with two outs, but Pickens hit a long fly ball to deep center field that was just short and caught at the warning track to end the game.
Kinley (1-2) suffered the loss for MSU after giving up three runs, all earned, on three hits in 1 1/3 innings, while Aggie reliever Estevan Uriegas, who threw two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, got the win.
Michigan State returns to action Wednesday, March 7 to face No. 21 Baylor at Baylor Ballpark in Waco, Texas. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m.