Aggies Doomed by Free Passes in 10-7 Loss at South Carolina

Posted at 7:52 PM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-15 20:52:19-04

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – The Texas A&M pitching staff was doomed by 11 walks and two hit batsmen as the No. 2 Aggies dropped a 10-7 decision against No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks Sunday afternoon at Founders Park.

Six of the free passes came home to score, including two in a four-run third inning and all three runs scored by the Gamecocks in the fifth.

South Carolina (38-13, 17-9 SEC) drew first blood in the bottom of the second when Dom Thompson-Williams hit a 1-1 offering over the rightfield fence for a leadoff home run.

Texas A&M (39-11, 18-9 SEC) responded with three runs in the next half inning. With two outs in the top of the third, Nick Choruby slipped a single through the left side of the infield and Boomer White drew a five-pitch walk. Hunter Melton followed with a titanic three-run home run to dead centerfield to give the Aggies a 3-1 advantage.

The Gamecocks reclaimed the lead with four runs in the bottom of the third. With one out, Gene Cone drew a walk and Marcus Mooney was hit by a pitch. Alex Destino singled through the right side to plate Cone and Mooney came around to score when Texas A&M shortstop Austin Homan was unable to handle Nick Banks’ throw to second, tying the game at 3-3. Thompson-Williams followed with his second home run of the game, a two-run job off of Ty Schlottmann, to put the lead back in the Gamecocks’ hands, 5-3.

The Aggies trimmed a run off the lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, Melton drew a walk and Birk followed with a single through the right side to put runners at the corners. South Carolina was unable to turn a double play on a grounder by Nick Banks, trimming the lead to 5-4.

The Gamecocks’ took advantage of three free passes to added three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Cason Sherrod walked Thompson-Williams and Ryan Hendrix walked John Jones and Jonah Bride to load the bases. With Stephen Kolek coming out of the bullpen, South Carolina scored runs on a wild pitch and a squeeze bunt by Clark Scolamiero. The Gamecocks added a third run in the frame when a seemingly routine grounder to first base took a bad bounce over the head of Melton for an RBI single, inflating the South Carolina cushion to 8-4.

Ronnie Gideon hit a solo home run in the sixth, his fifth home run of the season, to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to 8-5.

The Gamecocks added single runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to push the edge to 10-5.

Texas A&M made one last charge with two outs in the ninth as Birk hit a two-run home run, but it was all they could muster in the frame.

Kyle Simonds (8-2) was saddled with the loss for the Aggies. He yielded four runs on three hits and two walks while striking out one in 2.1 innings.

South Carolina starter Adam Hill worked 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two. Josh Reagan (2-2) earned the win in relief. He allowed two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out two in 4.1 innings.

Milestones reached in the game included the 200th career hit for Banks and the 25th career home run for Melton. Birk went 3-for-5 with one home run and two RBI

With the loss, the Aggies fell a half-game behind Florida (18-8) in the overall SEC standings and Texas A&M now finds itself tied with Mississippi State (18-9) atop the Western Division standings.

Texas A&M returns to action Tuesday as the Aggies host the Sam Houston State Bearkats for their final non-conference game of the season. First pitch at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park is slated for 6:34 pm.