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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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No. 3 Aggies open series with 4-3 loss to Rebels

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Hannah Harrison
Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) sliding into second base during Texas A&M’s game against Rice at Olsen Field on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

For the second weekend in a row, Texas A&M earned another lesson in the parity of baseball in the SEC.

A week after losing two of three games to an LSU team that entered the series with a 7-14 mark in conference play, the No. 3 Aggies dropped a 4-3 decision to Ole Miss on Friday, May 10. The Rebels came into the set at Swayze Field sporting a 9-15 record in SEC action and at 25-23 overall.

Redshirt sophomore LHP Ryan Prager rebounded from his first loss of the year last week with 10 strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Ole Miss was limited to two runs on five hits and a walk, keeping it even with A&M as he logged his fifth game with 10 or more punchouts.

It marked a distinct improvement from Prager’s last outing in Oxford, Mississippi, when he surrendered four runs in 2.1 frames in 2022. That game, though, saw the Aggies leave with a 12-5 win over the season’s National Champions.

Following Prager’s exit, Ole Miss used a two-run eighth inning to swing the lead and momentum in its favor. Sophomore DH Andrew Fischer got it started with a leadoff single before advancing to third on senior LHP Evan Aschenbeck’s failed pickoff attempt.

One batter later, he came home as the tying run thanks to senior LF Jackson Ross’ double down the third-base line. It represented the Florida Atlantic transfer’s second RBI of the night following an RBI single in the third that knotted the score at 2.

Sophomore 1B Will Furniss’ groundout advanced Ross to third while chasing Aschenbeck from the game. The Brenham product entered as the Aggies’ most trusted reliever with a 4-0 mark over a team-high 21 appearances, but the series opener saw him strapped with his first loss of the season.

Junior RHP Josh Stewart was greeted with a fly ball to the left field warning track by senior CF Ethan Groff. While the ball didn’t have enough juice on it for a two-run homer, it was well deep enough to plate Ross and push the Rebels ahead, 4-3.

A&M got a chance to respond in the ninth with the top of its order due up, albeit one that had been held hitless over 10 at-bats. Senior RHP Connor Spencer’s two strikeouts to open the inning made it 13 punchouts for the Ole Miss pitching staff, but junior RF Braden Montgomery’s single gave life to the Aggies as the tying run.

Mississippi native Montgomery’s steal of second put him in scoring position for senior C Jackson Appel, whose three hits paced the team. However, he couldn’t make it four, as a groundout to second sealed the loss.

Appel opened the night on a high note for A&M with a first-inning RBI single to plate freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac. An inning later, the Aggies grabbed a 2-0 lead with freshman 1B Kaeden Kent’s second long ball of the season, a solo shot to right field.

The bottom of the second saw the Maroon and White earn a taste of their own medicine, as sophomore 3B Judd Utermark tagged a big fly to left-center, cutting the lead in half. In the third, Ross’ RBI single made it a new ballgame at 2-all.

Appel and graduate DH Hayden Schott each collected their 19th multi-hit game of the season in the fifth, with Appel’s double setting up an RBI single for Schott and a 3-2 A&M lead. It marked Schott’s 13th consecutive game reaching base.

The Aggies look to even the series on Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m. Sophomore LHP Justin Lamkin is slated to toe the rubber with a 2-1 mark and a 4.74 ERA. Sophomore LHP Liam Doyle will take the mound for the Rebels at 2-2 and a 5.82 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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