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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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

No. 6 Aggies sweep weekend set with Kansas

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The No. 6 Texas A&M baseball team (19-5, 5-1 in Big 12) earned a three-game sweep against the visiting Kansas Jayhawks thanks to outstanding starting pitching and clutch performances by a trio of freshmen.
Friday, junior starting pitcher John Stilson took the mound against KU’s T.J. Walz, and both hurlers threw outstanding games. Stilson lasted eight innings while allowing no runs and striking out seven.
Walz was nearly as perfect on the night, but the Aggies made him pay for his mistakes in the bottom of the third. After freshman second baseman Charlie Curl was hit by a pitch and proceeded to steal second, his fellow rookie Krey Bratsen brought him home for the first score of the night with a hard chopper that the shortstop couldn’t convert into an out.
The Jayhawks finally got on the board in the top of the ninth, tying the game at one. After the Aggies failed to score in the bottom of the inning and shut down the Kansas attack in the top of the tenth, Head Coach Rob Childress made a gutsy move.
Curl began the inning with a single and moved to second on a bunt from freshman Jace Statum. Bratsen was then walked, and sophomore Tyler Naquin took first after being hit by a pitch, loading up the bases for the home team. That’s when Childress decided to send in a pinch hitter — freshman catcher Troy Stein, who up until that point had watched the entire game from the dugout. Stein ripped an off-speed pitch over the outstretched arms of KU’s left fielder and, after Curl crossed home plate for the game winner, was mobbed by joyful teammates in shallow right field in celebration of the team’s dramatic 2-1 victory
“Stein’s one of our best hitters on the team,” Childress said. “We wanted to make sure we put the ball in play right there, and he’s got a swing that’s going to lift the baseball and get it to the outfield. He’s a great kid, one of the hardest workers on our team and usually good things happen to those who work hard.”
Another freshman took the torch Saturday as Krey Bratsen notched a career-high four hits in the Aggies 11-1 win over the Jayhawks.
Sophomore pitcher Michael Wacha continued his dominance, tossing his second consecutive complete-game victory. The Texarkana product struck out nine while not giving up an earned run.
Sunday’s third and final matchup against the Jayhawks stayed true to the script, featuring another overpowering performance on the mound and important contributions from a few diaper dandies.
Junior Ross Stripling, who last Monday was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, continued his hot streak by giving up only six hits while striking out seven. The Southlake native is now 5-1 on the season and did not allow an earned run, bringing his season ERA down to 0.76.
Curl hit a perfect 3-3 on the afternoon, earning a run in the bottom of the third when his squeeze bunt brought home Smith.
“Our team was doing a good job of getting us in those situations,” Curl said. “I was lucky enough to be in the batter’s box when we needed it.”
Curl’s heads-up base running allowed him to score later in the fifth when Bratsen smoked a pitch into the center field gap. For the weekend, Bratsen batted .583 (7-12) with five RBIs and two stolen bases.
After Stripling was pulled with one out in the eighth, and the Aggie defense gave up two errors, the home team found themselves in a jam with the bases loaded. Childress called upon the talents of senior reliever Nick Fleece, who came in and promptly struck out the next KU batter to get the Aggies out of the jam. Senior closer Joaquin Hinojosa’s perfect ninth ensured the 3-1 victory for the Aggies.
“The biggest out of the game without question,” said Childress, referring to Fleece’s relief work. “The kid [KU’s Brandon Mascias] had doubled in his prior at-bat and he was seeing the baseball really well. [Fleece] got ahead of him and was able to throw two sliders down and away where they needed to be.”

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