Baseball falls for the first time this season to Sacramento State
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014 22:02
Despite a great start from junior right-hander Daniel Mengden, the No. 21 Texas A&M fell to Sacramento State Friday at Olsen Field. The loss ends A&M’s four game winning streak to start the season.
Mengden, who tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in his first appearance of the season on Feb. 14, was impressive again on Friday. He was pulled after seven innings and 100 pitches, recording nine strikeouts, allowing one unearned run on just three hits.
Even with the loss, Mengden (1-1, 1.38) still considers the first five games of the season a success.
“I think it’s been a great start for me and the team,” Mengden said. “I just have to go out there and throw strikes and keep us in the game. That’s my job.”
The lone run of the game came in the fourth inning after Sacramento State first baseman Rhys Hoskins reached first on an errant throw by Aggie shortstop Patrick McLendon, his second error of the night.
After striking out the next batter, Mengden allowed his first hit of the game to Clay Cederquist moving Hornet pinch-runner Brandon Hunley to third.
Mengden would strike out the next batter, but would then surrender another single, this time to David Del Grande.
Mendgen bounced back by striking out a third batter in the inning, but the damage was already done.
McLendon, who was 4-for-6 in Tuesday’s win over SFA and came into Friday’s game hitting over .350, received praise from head coach Rob Childress.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Childress said. “Patrick [McLendon] has been our hero early in the season. He just made a mistake tonight and we weren’t able to cover it up for him.”
Sophomore relief Andrew Vinson closed out the final two frames for the Aggies, striking out two and not allowing a single baserunner. Vinson and Mengden share a unqiue bond in that they both were part-time position players last season before deciding to focus solely on the mound in 2014.
Mengden was the back-up catcher and designated hitter, and Vinson played at second base for A&M in the 2013 season.
“That’s part of who they are and I think that’s what makes them so competitive,” said senior catcher Troy Stein. “They are guys that have played in the field – and understand what it’s like – they’re going to go out and get it done.”
The Aggies out-hit the Hornets six to three, including two hits each from senior catcher Troy Stein and sophomore designated hitter Hunter Melton.
A two-out double by sophomore outfielder J.B. Moss in the bottom of the fifth would be the furthest an Aggie advanced on the basepaths.
A&M put the ball in play all night long, striking out just twice over the course of the game.
“We hit the ball well,” Mengden said. “It’s not like we didn’t hit. It might not show up on the scoreboard, but I think tomorrow [Sacramento State] has something coming for them.”
The teams play their second game of a three-game series at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. A&M will send senior pitcher Parker Ray (1-0, 1.80) to face Sacramento State’s Brennan Leitao (0-1, 2.57).