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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies walk off Rams in extra-innings battle for series sweep
Photo by CJ Smith
Graduate OF Hayden Schott (5) gives a Gig Em’ to the crowd after his walk-off after A&M’s game against Rhode Island on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

After a drama-filled 10 innings of baseball at Olsen Field saw Texas A&M lead Rhode Island 7-0 and trail 11-7 before tying things up in the bottom of the ninth, graduate LF Hayden Schott didn’t know what to think. 

So he said he didn’t overthink it — he just swung. 

“I don’t really know what I was doing,” Schott said. “I kind of just blanked. I was like ‘stick to my approach.’ I figured they were going to try to get one over elbow, so I was like ‘don’t miss if they do.’”

Schott’s single to right-center field fell just past a diving junior RF Eric Genther’s glove, and sent freshman third baseman Gavin Grahovac to home plate and Schott’s helmet to the air in celebration, all while keeping the Aggies undefeated at 16-0 and giving the transfer from Columbia his first taste of Olsen Magic.

“I saw him way out, and I was like ‘oh my gosh, no way this doesn’t land,” Schott said. “Luckily it did.”

But that wasn’t Schott’s first chance at a walk-off: That came in the bottom of the ninth and ended up as a ground out that allowed the Aggies to cut the lead to two runs with two outs.

“I have a pretty short memory in baseball,” Schott said. “I love the show Ted Lasso. He says ‘be a goldfish, they have the shortest memory in the animal kingdom.’ so I try to be a goldfish and forget what happened last at-bat and luckily good things happen when you do that.”

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, three consecutive Aggie batters were able to draw walks off of two different Rhode Island pitchers. A visit to the mound put in junior RHP Kenny Heon for the Rams, facing freshman PH Caden Sorrell in his first action of the game. 

Down to the last strike, Heon walked Sorell on a full-count and kept the Aggies alive for the 10th inning. 

“We were able to keep pushing the bat down the line,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Our guys did a good job of playing pitch-to-pitch.”

Things started out routine for the Aggies, who cruised to a 7-0 lead at the end of the 5th inning largely thanks to sophomore LHP Justin Lamkin’s work on the mound.

Lamkin finished with 5.2 innings pitched, tallying a career-high 10 strikeouts and conceding two hits and a single run on 88 pitches. 

“It was better,” Schlossnagle said. “His change up was better. His breaking ball was better. I thought the last pitch he made was probably the worst pitch of the day at least from where I stood, but he did a nice job and obviously the way they swung the bat the rest of the day shows you what a nice job he did.”

Lamkin’s final pitch of the afternoon blemished his otherwise strong outing, surrendering a solo home run off the bat off freshman SS Reece Moroney. It was only the second hit of the game for the Rams, but it ended Lamkin’s outing and sparked an 11-0 Rhode Island run that had the Maroon and White around Olsen worried headed into the bottom of the seventh with A&M down 11-7. 

At least, the fans were the ones stressing. Not the Aggie dugout. 

“The vibe doesn’t change,” Schott said. “We knew we weren’t out of the game, we’re never out of the game with this offense. It was more just scraping away, doing our thing, having good at-bats. You go back to a guy like Caden Sorrell who had that huge walk … this game doesn’t end without Caden Sorrell getting that walk.”

After using five other pitchers after Lamkin’s exit, A&M finally found its closer in senior LHP Evan Aschenbeck, who struck out three of the first four Rams he faced to hand things over to Schott and the Aggies’ offense.

“That’s the right guy for the right time,” Lamkin said. “Any game, any situation. I knew he’d do what he did.”

As for how Schott intends to celebrate his first career walk off, he says that he’ll most likely skip his usual Panda Express, but it won’t be his original plan of a Chick-Fil-A milkshake after it was pointed out that he did just win the Sunday game. 

“Alright, nevermind, not Chick-Fil-A,” Schott said. “Let’s go McDonald’s, I’m going to get a McDonald’s milkshake, I’m going to treat myself. I am 100% going to get a Shamrock Shake.”

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