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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies avoid sweep, defeat Florida 7-3

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Junior second baseman Michael Helman scored the Aggies only run on a wild pitch.

In what was the finale to a top-tier SEC baseball matchup, No. 18 Texas A&M took down No. 1 Florida 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Blue Bell Park in College Station.
With the result, A&M improved to 34-14 on the season (12-12 SEC), while Florida fell to 38-11 (18-6 SEC).
After losing the first two games of the weekend series by a combined score of 15-1, the Aggies managed to rally and avoid the sweep against the top ranked team in the country.
“This was the most important win of the year,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “We get finals finished up the next two days and get a chance to hit the reset button and get a little bit healthier. We’ll have a really good practice on Wednesday and get ready for Arkansas, who’s just as good as the team we just finished playing.”
The game featured multiple home runs, two of which came off of A&M bats. The first was a key moment in the game, when sophomore first baseman Hunter Coleman hit a ball out of the park down the left field line to give A&M the lead.
“[The home run] was huge,” pitcher Stephen Kolek said of his teammates home run. “To put us up against Florida, that’s a big confidence boost in our dugout. Just to say ‘You know what, we can beat these guys.’ We’re ahead of them here, if we just go out and hang up some zeros, we’ll stay on top of them, and we got a chance.”
After an inning and a half of play, A&M trailed the Gators, 2-0.
“They got the momentum early,” Coleman said. “Our sole focus was to get the momentum back. I think we were on the barrel all weekend just hitting right at them and finally it was good to find some holes today and get a lot of hits.”
A&M responded in the bottom of the second inning, putting three runs on the scoreboard and taking the lead. The first came off a balk from starting Florida pitcher Jack Leftwich that brought Coleman home. Freshman Aaron Walters doubled to right center field to score junior Cole Bedford. Junior George Janca pushed Walters across the plate with an RBI single.
“I think that just showed our toughness,” Coleman added. “We were going to do whatever it took to get the win today.”
Each team scored a run in the third, the bats went quiet until the bottom of the sixth inning when Bedford homered down the right field line to extend the Aggies’ lead to two runs.
The final runs of the game would come in the next frame, as a Gator error allowed sophomore Braden Shewmake and junior Michael Helman to score, making the final score 7-3.
“There were some big innings that were created by some miscues on defense all weekend,” Coleman said. “The first two games I think that was on our part, and then finally today they made a few mistakes and we capitalized on them. I think that was the difference in the game.”
Aggie starting pitcher Stephen Kolek managed to battle through 6.2 innings. The junior gave up six hits, three runs, walked four batters and struck out five.
“I know that I was going to have a short trigger, so I needed to hang a zero or I was going to be running to the locker room to put my tennis shoes on,” Kolek said. “I was just trying to stay out there as long as could.”
Junior Nolan Hoffman was credited with the save after taking the mound with two outs in the seventh inning. In his 2.1 innings pitched, Hoffman allowed two hits, no runs, walked one and struck out three batters.
At the plate, Texas A&M out hit the Gators 12 to 8. Top performers included Coleman and Bedford, who both went 2-for-4, each scoring two runs and had one RBI. Walters went 2-for-3 with one RBI and scoring one run.
“That’s why we love baseball,” Kolek said. “You don’t just get one game, you get three. Every day you get to throw that game from yesterday away, and come out and give it everything you’ve got today. Our team did a great job of that this week.”
A&M will return to action next weekend as they travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to make their final regular season trip to battle the Razorbacks.

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