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Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Baseball

Texas A&M walked-off by Mississippi State in series opener, 10-8

May 18, 2023

Game #53: Mississippi State 10, Texas A&M 8
Records: Texas A&M (30-23, 12-16), Mississippi State (27-24, 9-19)
WP: Nate Dohm (6-4)
LP: Brandyn Garcia (2-3)
Box Score


Needing a series victory to make an NCAA regional, Texas A&M suffered a back-breaking walk-off loss on Thursday night, falling to Mississippi State, 10-8.

A&M was an out away from escaping with an 8-7 victory until Will Johnston's wild pitch allowed Dakota Jordan to tie the game.

Two pitches later, Amani Larry crushed a two-run shot to left that pushed A&M to the brink.

The hero — or villain, depending on your shade of Maroon — of the evening, Larry finished 3-for-4 with two homers and a 103 mph double off the right ankle of A&M starter Nathan Dettmer.

Now sitting at 12-16 in SEC play, the Aggies must rebound to take the three-game set and reach a 14-win plateau in conference that national pundits believe could be the cut line come selection day.

The trouble will be rebounding after using their best arms in a losing effort.

Evan Aschenbeck was uncharacteristically ineffective in relief of Dettmer, who gutted and hobbled through 4.2 innings and departed with a 7-2 lead.

Slate Alford's two-out double off Ashenbeck in the fifth allowed inherited runners to score and turned what once appeared to be an Aggie runaway into a dogfight.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M committed two errors on the night and batted 8-for-34 (.235) overall.

Aschenbeck ultimately allowed Mississippi State to pull even with two more in the sixth.

Entering with a one-run lead in the seventh, Brandyn Garcia reached the final frame, but the 26th and 27th outs eluded him as he walked a pair in the ninth. Both of those free passes scored, saddling Garcia with the loss following Johnston's ill-fated offering to Larry.

That the Bulldogs ever had a shot at pulling off the comeback should puzzle Jim Schlossnagle and his coaching staff.

Mississippi State pitching walked 15 Aggies. Jace LaViolette walked four times. Max Kaufer worked three.

A&M also stranded 16 runners.

The Aggies only had eight hits. With men in scoring position, they were 3-for-17 (.176) as the timely hits never arrived.

Worse, A&M was 0-for-4 with the bases loaded. 

Ryan Targac's three-run blast in the fourth staked A&M to an early 4-2 advantage. He also broke a 7-7 tie with a solo blast to lead off the seventh. The much-maligned Targac finished 3-for-4 with three extra-base hits.

Yet, it wasn't enough against a Mississippi State club fighting to reach the SEC Tournament.

Save an unlikely conference title next week in Hoover, the Aggies now face must-win ballgames in a hostile environment on back-to-back nights just to get into the field of 64.

With their margin for error officially gone, the series resumes Friday at 6 p.m. CT.

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Texas A&M walked-off by Mississippi State in series opener, 10-8

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