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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Aggie express looks to roll through No. 3 Arkansas

Photo by Robert O’Brien

The Aggies line up by home plate to sing the Aggie War Hymn in Olsen Field on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.

To reiterate sophomore third baseman Ryan Targac’s statement on March 19, “The train is rolling, and it’s not going to stop.”

This maroon and white train has rolled through five ranked opponents and is now 7-2 against top 25 teams. In the past two games, the Aggies have totaled 37 runs, 31 hits and eight home runs against then-No. 10 ranked Georgia and No. 25 ranked Dallas Baptist. 

On April 22, Texas A&M baseball will face its toughest competitor yet in the No. 3 ranked Arkansas team, which looks to add to its six-game win streak after its 10-1 win against Arkansas State on April 19.

A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle has seemed to crack the code to winning games at the collegiate level after the 14-1 win against the Patriots on April 19.

“The best teams are the ones that are most desperate to win,” Schlossnagle said.

Going into the SEC three-game series, Arkansas stands at 29-7 overall, 11-4 in the conference and ranks first in the SEC West. As for the Aggies, they now stand at 23-13 overall, tied second in the SEC West at 8-7 and are 14-7 at Olsen Field.

In their last six games, the Razorbacks have swept two opponents and defeated in-state rival Arkansas State 10-1. The first is the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, who they run-ruled in the first seven innings of both games 15-0 and 6-0. The second was then-No. 15 ranked LSU in Fayetteville where they swept the Tigers and formulated 15 runs against their six total. 

This top-25 team is filled with hitters from the lead-off to the bottom of the lineup. 

At the top of the lineup, sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace is the spark man for the Razorbacks and has been hot from the box all season. The 2021 Freshman All-SEC third baseman leads the team in hits with 45, runs with 39 and is tied at first in total bases with 72. 

Batting clean-up for Arkansas is a fifth-year catcher who transferred from Kent State at the end of the 2021 season. Michael Turner has the highest batting average at .341 and has tallied 44 hits and 32 RBIs so far this season.
Near the bottom of the lineup is a graduate center fielder who, if he is in the box with the bases loaded, will be a problem for the Aggies. Braydon Webb is hitting .255 this season and leads the team in home runs with nine. He has the highest slugger percentage at .553 and has 23 RBIs this season.

As for the mound, Arkansas has rotated through the same three pitchers all season. Senior Connor Noland has the lowest ERA on the team at 2.82, is 5-1 this season and leads the team in strikeouts with 67.

Pitching in Game 2 is a Texas native who has been a problem for batters in his first season as a collegiate pitcher. Freshman left-handed pitcher Hagen Smith has thrown 52 strikeouts this season and is second in the SEC in wins with six and was named the week nine SEC Freshman of the Week after pitching a seven-inning shutout against then-No. 12 LSU.

As for the Aggies, they’ve had an even more impressive season in the batter’s box.

Sophomore first baseman Jack Moss is the team’s leader and sits third in the SEC in batting average at .372, higher than anyone in the Arkansas lineup. He leads the team in hits with 54 and will look to continue this impressive hitting performance come April 22.

The Mr. Slugger award, if this was an actual award, would go to the Sugarland native who has been dominant in the box all season. Fifth-year left fielder Dylan Rock leads the team in home runs for the season with 10 and has the highest slugger percentage on the team with .672, which is higher than the Razorbacks’ leading slugger. 

As for the mound, expect sophomore pitcher Nathan Dettmer to start Game 1, junior pitcher Micah Dallas in Game 2 or 3 and the third pitcher has yet to be determined.

Dettmer will be looking to get his fourth win of the season on Friday and add to his 45 strikeouts already thrown this season. Dallas leads the team in strikeouts this season with 61 and leads the team in wins with four.

“We know the competition is going to amp itself up,” Schlossnagle said. “Hopefully the 12th Man will show up. I know they will.”

Game 1 of the weekend series will start at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Bell Park in College Station on Friday, April 22.

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