Recapping No. 16 MSU’s 6-4 win over Texas A&M in the third round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Thursday.
• The buzz: The Bulldogs (43-16) just don’t know how to lose in this tournament. With this win, MSU is off tomorrow and will play in the semifinals on Saturday. Some defensive miscues by Texas A&M (32-26) aided the MSU offense, and the collective pitching effort was strong. Oh, and Adam Frazier is making another run at tournament MVP honors. This was MSU’s fourth win in as many tries against the Aggies this year, having swept them in College Station in mid-April.
• Big inning: It was a 2-2 game entering the fifth when MSU put up a three-spot. It started with a Frazier leadoff single, and he went to third base on a hit-and-run single by Alex Detz. Brett Pirtle‘s single to right field gave State the lead. Then A&M helped out with a two-run error when Nick Ammirati‘s groundball went right through the legs of first baseman Cole Lankford.
• Key stats: Only two of the runs MSU scored were earned, as A&M made three errors. … MSU turned two double plays, including one by center fielder Hunter Renfroe, who caught a fly ball and fired to first to get the runner. … MSU left eight men on base, while A&M stranded one.
• MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had 10 hits, marking the ninth consecutive game in which they had double-digit hits. … Frazier was 4 of 5 with a double, two runs and an RBI. The 2012 SEC Tournament MVP is 9 of 18 this week. … Pirtle had two hits and two RBIs. … MSU added an insurance run in the eighth on Frazier’s two-out infield single to score Derrick Armstrong, who’d reached on a bunt, stolen second, and took third on a bad throw.
• Texas A&M at the plate: The Aggies had six hits. … Hunter Melton, who had homered in each of the first two games here, singled twice. The first drove in a run in the first to give A&M a 2-1 lead. … The Aggies got two runs in the fifth to cut MSU’s lead to 5-4. After starter Kendall Graveman was pulled, Blake Allemand delivered a two-run single off reliever Ben Bracewell.
• MSU on the mound: Graveman went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs – two earned – on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks. … Bracewell worked one-third of an inning and was charged with no runs on one hit. … Ross Mitchell (11-0) got the win in relief with 3 1/3 innings of shutout, hitless work. He fanned one and walked one. … Jonathan Holder picked up his 16th save with a perfect ninth inning.
• Texas A&M on the mound: Starter Rafael Pineda (5-5) gave up five runs – two earned – on six hits with five Ks and a walk. … Matt Kent tossed an inning of one-hit, scoreless relief. … Kyle Martin allowed one unearned run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.
• Bottom line: MSU now gets to be off Friday, and it will play the Vanderbilt-Texas A&M winner in Saturday’s semifinals. The tourney reverts to single-elimination mode at that point. Unlike last year, when State played six games in six days in the hot sun, fatigue shouldn’t be much of a factor this weekend.