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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 Battalion May 4, 2024

Aggies blow out Missouri 16-2

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Photo by Abbey Santoro

Sophomore outfielder Logan Britt was one of nine Aggies that recorded a hit against Missouri

Texas A&M baseball hit the road for Missouri on Thursday fresh off an electrifying 2-0 shutout of No. 5 Texas on Tuesday in College Station.
A&M was 3-1 in its previous four entering Game 1 and was 53-35-1 all-time against Missouri. The last time the two schools faced off at Taylor Stadium was in 2017 when A&M outscored the Tigers 25-4 in a three-game sweep.
Dustin Saenz took the mound looking to build off a 5.2 IP, 6 H, 11 K performance in a Game 1 win over Georgia a week ago. The southpaw claimed a 4-2 record and a 3.07 ERA over six starts this year. His counterpart was Missouri sophomore Spencer Miles, who entered with a 5.55 ERA over 32 innings in 2021.
A&M made Miles throw 26 pitches out of the gate and didn’t waste any time on offense as they gave Saenz an early 2-0 lead to work with thanks to an RBI single from Ty Coleman and a run-scoring double by Ray Alejo. It came after Ryan Targac’s base hit that pushed Coleman to third before Alejo’s clutch hit which was the Aggies’ third consecutive hit to come with two outs.
Two-out hitting continued to be key early on as after the Aggies’ first two runs came with two outs, both of their next two runs came with two outs in the second inning off an error by the Missouri shortstop that brought home seniors Will Frizzell and Bryce Blaum for the third and fourth runs.
A&M coach Rob Childress said his hitters’ mindsets were on point in Thursday’s win and that the ability to hit with two outs was an important part of their success early on.
“Our guys came out ready to rock and throw down from the word go,” Childress said. “We had a couple of big two-out hits early — a lot of two-out hits tonight. I think we scored 10 runs with two outs.”
After sophomore Logan Britt and freshman Kalae Harrison each drove home runs in the third for A&M’s fifth and sixth runs, Miles was chased from the game and gave up a total of seven hits in 2.2 innings, six runs and recorded zero strikeouts.
While the offense was going to work, Saenz was easily making work of Missouri, striking out the side in the first inning and allowing two hits and no runs in the first three frames. Through the fifth and sixth innings he was even better, facing the minimum of six batters and striking out four of them, three of which went down looking.
The fourth inning was the first one of the night that ended scoreless, and it appeared Missouri would get through the fifth frame unscathed before Mikey Hoehner tripled down the right field line and scored Ray Alejo for A&M’s seventh run.
Alejo said the series win over Georgia a weekend ago and Tuesday win over Texas has put the team in good spirits mentally and that has allowed everyone to be at their best like they were in Thursday’s win.
“Everybody plays their best when they’re relaxed and having a good time,” Alejo said. “I think when guys are able to relax and let that happen we’re going to be at our best.”
A&M’s offense salted the game away after that with a nine-run sixth inning in which 15 different Aggies came to the plate and recorded five hits, five walks and a hit by pitch. They nearly hit around the order without recording a single out as seven Aggies stepped in the box and scored four runs before Missouri finally recorded the first out.
Still, the Tigers had to face 10 more batters in the inning as A&M scored five off a pair of RBI singles from Harrison and Austin Bost, a bases-loaded RBI walk by Blaum, and a wild pitch during Targac’s at-bat which Blaum scored on.
Despite the long break in between innings, Saenz came back out still white hot and tossed two more scoreless innings to end the night with 114 pitches over seven innings. In what was arguably the best start of his season he allowed only three hits, walked three and struck out an even 10 Tigers while not giving up any runs. It was the senior’s third appearance of the year with double-digit strikeouts and his second in a row.
Childress said Saenz’s performance was great not just because of how he pitched, but he also was able to give key bullpen arms an extra day of rest like Chandler Jozwiak and Alex Magers.
“It was exactly what the doctor ordered,” Childress said. “We were able to give the bullpen a rest and the reset button has been hit and we’re full and ready to go for tomorrow and Saturday. It’s a good feeling not to have to use our guys.”
The rest of the night was quiet apart from Missouri spoiling what would have been A&M’s sixth shutout of the year when they scratched across a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Those runs were the last scored of the contest as the final score read 16-2 Aggies.
A&M is now 19-9 on the year and 3-4 in conference as the Aggies have won four out of their last five games. Missouri falls further in the SEC with a 1-6 conference record as the Tigers drop to 8-17 this season.
Game 2’s first pitch is set for Friday with Jonathan Childress on the mound for the Aggies at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+ from Taylor Stadium in Columbia with the series wrapping up Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. on SEC Network.

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