AUBURN, Alabama – The Aggie pitching staff allowed 17 hits in the night cap of Saturday’s doubleheader as No. 3 Texas A&M dropped a 9-7 decision to the Auburn Tigers. The loss snapped a 12-game win streak for the Aggies and evened the series at one game apiece.
The Maroon and White let early leads of 4-0 and 6-4 slip away in the loss.
Auburn’s Daniel Robert led the attack, going 4-for-5 with one double, two runs and three RBI. Anfernee Grier, Joshua Palacios and Niko Buentello each logged three hits.
Texas A&M (17-2, 1-1 SEC) once again drew first blood, this time in the top of the first. J.B. Moss drew a seven-pitch walk to start the game and with one out Boomer White singled to put two runners on. Hunter Melton threaded a single through the right side of the infield to drive in Moss and Nick Banks followed with a wall-banger to leftfield for a double, plating Melton. Michael Barash capped off the inning by poking a single to leftfield, knocking in two runs and staking the Maroon and White to a 4-0 lead.
Auburn (10-9, 1-1 SEC) offered an immediate and equal response in the home half of the first. Grier hit a leadoff single and Palacios put two runners in scoring position with a double to leftfield. Jordan Ebert knocked in Grier with a sacrifice fly and Buentello pushed Palacios across with a gap single to left-center. An infield single by Jackson Burgreen gave Auburn two runners and they would score on a double by Robert and a sacrifice fly by Cody Nulph to tie the game at 4-4.
The Aggies reclaimed the lead in the top of the second. Moss once again was the catalyst of a rally drawing a leadoff walk. Ryne Birk followed by driving a first-pitch offering over the rightfield fence for a two-run home run and the 6-4 lead.
Auburn tied the game in the third. With one out, Buentello drew a six-pitch walk. Buentello moved to second base on a balk with two outs and Robert made the Aggies pay with a gapper to right-center for an RBI single. Robert stole second and scored on an error at third by White on a Nulph chopper to the hot corner, knotting the game at 6-6.
The Tigers took their first lead of the game in the fifth. Burgreen slapped a leadoff single to center and Robert followed with a single to left center. Nulph was unsuccessful in getting a sacrifice bunt down, resulting in the first out of the inning at third base, but Kyler Deese got him off the hook by singling through the right side for the go-ahead hit.
Texas A&M tied the game in the sixth. Birk blooped a leadoff single down the rightfield line and White followed with an RBI single to the gap in right-center, tying the contest at 7-7.
Auburn took advantage of an Aggie error to take the lead in the sixth. Grier hit a leadoff single in the sixth, driving reliever Corbin Martin from the contest. Ty Schlottmann came in for the Aggies and yielded a single to Palacios, but got Ebert swinging at strike three for the first out of the inning. After Buentello singled to left field to load the bases, Schlottmann got Burgreen to strikeout swinging. Schlottmann appeared to be out of the inning when he got Robert to bounce to short, but an error by George Janca allowed Grier to score, giving the Tigers an 8-7 advantage.
The Tigers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single by Robert.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Tyler Ivey labored through 3.0 innings for the Aggies, allowing six runs, five earned, on six hits and one walk while striking out one. Casey Mize struggled through 2.0 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and two walks.
After wreaking havoc on every pitcher Auburn offered up in the doubleheader, the Aggies were unable to figure out G Klobosits. Klobosits (1-1) worked 7.0 innings, yielding just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out eight. Twice the Aggies got a runner on second with big boppers Melton and Banks coming to the plate and Klobosits retired them both with strikeouts.
Martin (1-1) was saddled with the loss for the Aggies.
The rubber match of the series is slated for 1 pm on Sunday.