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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies even series with Gators behind 10-6 victory

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Senior LHP Evan Aschenbeck (53) pitches during A&M’s game against Rhode Island on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Texas A&M earned its win over Florida on Saturday, March 16, it just came on the diamond instead of the hardwood.

The Aggies’ baseball team avenged the men’s basketball program’s SEC Tournament loss earlier in the day by taking down the Gators 10-6 at Condron Family Ballpark in Gainesville, Florida. After Florida struck for five runs over the first three innings, A&M’s bullpen locked in to hold the Gators to just one run over the final 6.2 frames.

The early offensive output from the home team was impressive, but the Aggies had little reason to worry after putting up eight runs of their own in the first three frames. A&M’s 1-2-3 hitters led the charge with three home runs and five of the team’s nine hits.

Freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac set the tone early with a leadoff double before sophomore CF Jace LaViolette took first by being hit by a pitch. In a start that bore similarities to A&M’s win over Texas on March 5, junior RF Braden Montgomery got payback for his teammate with a three-run blast to right field, putting the Aggies up 3-0 before an out was recorded.

The Gators bit back and got their scoring out of the way against junior RHP Tanner Jones in 2.1 innings, tagging him for five runs on five hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.

Florida followed a comparable gameplan in the first inning, as sophomore 2B Cade Kurland wore a pitch and advanced to second on junior 1B Jac Caglianone’s single. Sophomore DH Luke Heyman leveled the score with a three-run shot of his own before Jones earned an out.

A&M’s first inning proved to be an appetizer to the five-piece it churned out in the third. The Aggies kicked it off with a bang — or, two, for that matter — with Grahovac and LaViolette launched back-to-back solo shots.

The long balls began a parade of Aggies on the bases as Montgomery’s single chased freshman RHP Liam Peterson from the game. Three walks followed, with the last by senior C Jackson Appel plating a run. Senior DH Hank Bard and junior SS Ali Camarillo added RBI groundouts to level up A&M’s lead to 8-3.

Jones found himself out of the contest after a single and a double in the bottom of the frame gave way to senior LHP Evan Aschenbeck. Senior 3B Dale Thomas greeted him with a two-run double, but it was the most the Gators could manage against the Brenham product.

Aschenbeck capped the inning with two punchouts and held Florida’s bats in check over the next three innings. With four scoreless frames and six strikeouts, he lowered his season ERA to 0.87. Even when Aschenbeck left the game, junior RHP Josh Stewart continued his momentum with a scoreless inning of three punchouts.

During that time, the Aggies didn’t find much success either as a trio of Gators held them to one hit over 5.2 innings. With an 8-5 lead, the bats broke through in the ninth on Camarillo’s bases-loaded single to plate a pair of runs.

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao shut the door on Florida in the final 1.2 innings, with his lone run coming on a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

The victory in the Sunshine State has proved elusive for A&M, with the Maroon and White’s last win at the Gators’ ballpark coming in 2006. Since joining the SEC, the Aggies were 0-7 in Gainesville before Saturday night.

A&M will look to capture the first series of conference play in the rubber match on Sunday, March 17 at 12 p.m. Sophomore LHP Justin Lamkin is slated to start with a 1-0 mark and 0.98 ERA opposite Caglianone’s 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA.

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About the Contributor
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a junior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
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