Aggies hold down Dores at SEC Tournament

HOOVER, Ala. – No. 7 Texas A&M took an early lead and used a strong pitching performance to top No. 9 Vanderbilt 6-1 Thursday afternoon at the Hoover Met in the SEC Tournament.

The Aggies (45-10) jumped on Vanderbilt (40-18) starter Carson Fulmer immediately in the first inning to score two runs. Fulmer struck out leadoff hitter Blake Allemand but a single and hit batter but two runners aboard with one down. Fulmer rebounded to strike out Logan Taylor but a two-out single from Nick Banks scored the first run of the game and was followed by a run-scoring single from Hunter Melton. The Aggies again jumped on Fulmer in the second, launching back-to-back home runs with one out by Allemand and Ryne Birk to make it 5-0. Allemand belted his second homer of the game in the fourth with two outs to push the Vandy deficit to six runs.

While the Aggies’ offense was rolling so was Texas A&M starter Matt Kent. The lefty stranded runners at second base in the first two innings and ran into a Dansby Swanson solo homer to left-center to open the fourth but the Commodores did not threaten after that registering only two hits. Kent turned in the Aggies’ first complete game of the season allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts to earn his seventh win.

Fulmer was pinned with just his second loss of the season to snap his personal eight-game winning streak. The right-hander gave up a career-high six runs on six hits with four strikeouts over five innings. The four strikeouts were a season-low and ends his streak of at least six strikeouts in his previous 14 starts. Swanson had two of Vanderbilt’s four hits in the loss and is 4-for-8 with three home runs and a double in the Dores’ first two games of the SEC Tournament. Freshmen Collin Snider and Aubrey McCarty combined for four scoreless innings with six strikeouts to finish the game.

Allemand and Birk led the way for the Aggies from the top of the lineup with four hits, four runs and four RBI combined.

The Commodores take on Alabama tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Hoover Met in an elimination game on SEC Network.