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Aggies Fall to Vanderbilt in SEC Semifinal

HOOVER, Alabama - The No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies saw their run at the SEC Tournament end in the semifinal round as the Maroon and White dropped a 12-3 decision to the No. 9 Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday afternoon at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. It marks the deepest run in the tournament for the Aggies, in their third year in the league.

The Commodores drew first blood in the top of the second inning. To start the frame, Zander Wiel reached on an error when Logan Nottebrok was unable to handle a chopper to third. Will Toffey followed by lofting a first-pitch offering to leftfield and the wind carried it out of the park for a two-run home run.

Texas A&M (45-11) responded by manufacturing a run in the home half of the inning. Nick Banks drew a seven-pitch walk to start the inning. With two outs, Banks moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Nick Choruby poked a full-count offering into leftfield, trimming the Vanderbilt advantage to 2-1.

Vanderbilt (42-18) stretched the lead to three runs in the top of the third. With two outs, Wiel hit a first-pitch offering over the fence in left-center for a solo home run. Toffey was hit by a pitch and Bryan Reynolds singled to centerfield to put runners on the corners. Toffey came home to score when Andrew Vinson uncorked a wild pitch for the 4-1 Commodores' lead.

The Aggies offered an immediate response with two runs in the home half of the first inning. With one out, Ryne Birk worked a six-pitch walk and Mitchell Nau followed with a single through the right side of the infield. Logan Taylor stroked a double down the leftfield line to plate Birk, but Nau was gunned down at home with a cut-off throw from shortstop Dansby Swanson. Nick Banks poked a single into rightfield to knock in Taylor and cut the lead to 4-3.

The Commodores took control of the contest with a five-run fifth. Rhett Wiseman flared a single to right center to start the frame. Swanson placed a single that Aggie reliever, Tyler Stubblefield, coming off a knee injury had trouble scurrying to retrieve. His hurried throw was wide of Hunter Melton at first base, and the error scored Wiseman and put Swanson at third. An error at second by Birk on a grounder by Wiel allowed Swanson to score and put Wiel on first. Toffey doubled to rightfield to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. After Reynolds popped up to second base, Jeren Kendall slapped a ball just out of the reach of a diving Choruby in centerfield. Two runs came home on Kendall's triple and Stubblefield left the game with A&M trailing 8-3.

Ty Schlottmann came on in relief and got Penn Murfee to fly out to shallow leftfield. Leftfielder Taylor's throw was on time to the plate to retire Kendall, but catcher Michael Barash was unable to hang on to the ball allowing the run to score on the sacrifice fly and Vanderbilt held a 9-3 advantage.

Swanson's two-run home run in the sixth and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the eighth completed the scoring for the Commodores.

Making his first career start, Vinson (4-2) was saddled with the loss. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits and one walk while striking out one in 3.0 innings. Stubblefield made his second appearance of the season, working 1.1 innings. Corbin Martin was the highlight of the bullpen for A&M striking out four of the six batters he faced in 1.2 innings.

Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler was left without a decision, working 4.0 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two. John Kilichowski (3-3) earned the win retiring all 15 batters he faced, including five strikeouts.

Texas A&M will await word on NCAA Championship play when the host sites are revealed Sunday evening and the tournament bracket is revealed during Monday's 11 am selection show on ESPNU.

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