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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies can’t cage Wildcats, drop Game 3 to No.11 Kentucky

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Senior LHP Matt Dillard (45) pitches from the mound during Texas A&M’s game against Prairie View A&M at Olsen Field on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

After a hectic weekend of reschedules and doubleheaders, the Aggies looked to try to secure a series sweep against the No. 1 RPI team in the country, the Kentucky Wildcats. On “Bark in the Park” day at Kentucky Proud Park, the Aggies could not scratch enough runs or claw their way back into the series finale.
After falling behind in the first inning, Texas A&M was stifled by Kentucky’s pitching, only managing one run on five hits. Senior LHP Matt Dillard got the Sunday start for the Aggies and held his own for 3.2 innings, but the bullpen could not match Dillard’s production. The Aggies fell 8-1 to the Wildcats, sending A&M home without the sweep.
After coach Jim Schlossnagle kept the Saturday and Sunday starting positions to be announced, Dillard looked to help the Aggies secure their first SEC series sweep since last season’s home finale against Mississippi State.
Despite an efficient outing, Dillard started the first frame with a two-out single to drive in a run from the Wildcats off the bat of Kentucky junior INF Reuben Church. Securing the final out of innings has been a consistent problem for A&M this year, and it was no different today.
A home run that barely fell to the right of the left field foul pole from Kentucky senior OF Jackson Gray in the bottom of the second put the Aggies behind 2-0 early.
A&M answered back in the top of the third inning. After a review to confirm the pitch from Kentucky senior RHP Zach Lee hit him, junior DH Jack Moss reached first to lead off the inning.
Junior INF Trevor Werner followed up Moss with a single to right center field, putting two runners on with no outs.
Senior OF Brett Minnich could not cash in on the scoring opportunity, striking out in his next at bat. Minnich, since returning from injury, has been one of the Aggies’ best hitters, but struggled in Game 3.
Minnich went 3-7 in the doubleheader on Saturday, including a three-run homer in Game 1, but was one strikeout away from a golden sombrero in Game 3, whiffing three times in four at bats.
Up next in the inning, senior INF Austin Bost advanced the runners to put two in scoring position with a single. Freshman OF Jace LaViolette sent a fly ball to deep right field to drive in Moss, scoring A&M’s one and only run of the day after junior INF Ryan Targac also fell to a strikeout to end the inning.
To start the fifth inning, freshman LHP Shane Sdao hit Kentucky sophomore INF Émilien Pitre, putting a runner on with no outs. Sdao then allowed another free base in the next at bat, walking Kentucky sophomore C Devin Burkes to put two on base with no outs.
Church then lined out in the next at bat, but that would be the end of Sdao’s outing, going only .2 innings.
To replace Sdao, sophomore RHP Josh Stewart came in to try to limit the damage, but the Georgetown native found himself in a hole immediately. On a wild pitch, Burkes and Pitre advanced. This ended up being irrelevant, as Stewart walked Kentucky sophomore OF Nolan McCarthy, loading the bases with only one out.
Another wild pitch would finally make A&M pay, as Pitre came in to score to extend the Wildcats’s lead to 3-1. In another attempt to find some consistency on the mound, Schlossnagle then went to freshman LHP Justin Lamkin. Similarly to the last two Aggie pitchers in the fifth inning, Lamkin could find no rhythm. The Corpus Christi native secured an out from a groundout bunt, but then walked Gray to load the bases.
Yet another wild pitch drove in Burkes for the second Kentucky run of the inning. A ball past junior C Hank Bard almost scored another run, but McCarthy was called out at home after Bard recovered and tagged him, ending the fifth inning.
Lamkin ran into issues again in the seventh frame. After striking out Burkes to start the inning, the left-hander hit Church and gave up a single to McCarthy to put two on with one out.
A walk drawn from Kentucky senior INF Jase Felker loaded the bases, and Gray made Lamkin pay for the free passes issued earlier in the inning. Felker drove a triple down the right field line to clear the bases, then came home on a sacrifice fly from Kentucky senior INF Grant Smith to put the Wildcats up 8-1, all but ensuring their victory.
After a promising start to the season, Lamkin continues to struggle. The southpaw pitched 2.2 innings, and despite only allowing two hits, gave up four earned runs with three walks.
The Aggies will return to action against Sam Houston State on Tuesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at Olsen Field.

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