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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies aim to stay atop conference standings against Missouri

Junior+Braden+Shewmake+shows+his+excitement.
Photo by Annie Lui

Junior Braden Shewmake shows his excitement.

Texas A&M appears to be in unfamiliar territory as the end of March approaches.
In each of the past two seasons, the Aggies started a combined 3-9 in conference play, setting themselves up for an upwards climb in April.
But this year, A&M has won its first two SEC series and is riding a seven-game winning streak into this weekend’s home series against Missouri while tied for first in the SEC at 5-1.
“It’s different,” shortstop Braden Shewmake said. “It’s the first year we’ve done that since I’ve been here. Normally we’re on the other side climbing up that hill. It’s nice to be atop of it.”
Much of A&M’s recent success has been in part of its resurgence at the plate. During the winning streak, the Aggies have scored 64 runs and are batting .324 as a team.
“From an offensive standpoint over the last couple of weeks, we feel like we’ve done what we thought we were going to do before the season started,” head coach Rob Childress said. “I think guys are just feeding off one another.”
Leading the way is Shewmake. The junior struggled for most of the first month of the season, but has unloaded over the past two weeks, going 16-for-33 (.485) having recorded 13 of his 30 season RBI during the winning streak as he’s surged to the top of the team’s batting charts.
“That’s bringing a lot of energy back to us,” closing pitcher Kasey Kalich said of Shewmake. “We’ve been waiting for him to get hot and he’s getting hot right at the right time and he’s a true leader on this team and everybody looks up to him, so whenever we see him rolling it just makes the lineup that much better.”
A&M’s hot offense will face a tall task this weekend against Missouri’s weekend rotation, which boasts three left-handed pitchers. The Aggies believe this unusual southpaw showdown could favor them because of the eight lefties on their own roster and the plenty of left-handed pitching they’ve faced going back to fall practice.
“We saw a lot of them, so it’d definitely nothing new,” Shewmake said. “I feel like that’s given us a little bit of an advantage when left-handers have come out on the mound. It’s not a shock to anybody what you’re going to get or what you’re going to see and we’ve got a couple of the best lefties in the country on our staff so we’ve seen the best of the best.”
One of A&M’s lefties — John Doxakis — is still eyeing to show Friday dominance again. Doxakis was stellar through the first month of the season, but has failed to get back in the win column in each of his last three starts.
Childress was confident naming right-hander Christian Roa the Sunday starter last week, but there’s no guarantee the sophomore will take the hill in game three this weekend. Last Sunday, he didn’t make it out of the first inning against Kentucky, but there’s still a good chance Roa will be the Aggies’ third starter against the Tigers.
“We’ll see how the weekend plays out,” Childress said. “We’ll do what we’ve got to do to win early in the weekend and make sure he’s 100 percent ready to go and if he’s not, we’ll make the decision as we get to Sunday.
The Aggies and Tigers’ three-game series will commence Friday at 6:30 p.m. Game two will be Saturday at 2 p.m. with game three slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be streamed on SEC Network Plus.

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