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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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Aggies collect 13-5 win in mid-week matchup against Cardinals

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

The Aggie dugout celebrates as junior C Hank Bard (48) runs home to score in the top of the 16th inning of Texas A&M’s game against Texas Tech at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Monday, March 6, 2023.

In its first of five games this week, Texas A&M baseball utilized a lethal combination of well-timed base hits and a dominant defense to defeat the University of the Incarnate Word on Tuesday, March 7.
Sporting a 2-1 record from the Shriners Children’s College Classic, the maroon and white returned to Olsen Field hoping to continue their win streak with a victory against the UIW Cardinals. The matchup served as the start of the Aggies’ busiest regular season week, with a rematch against Rice University slated for Wednesday night in Houston.
“Everybody knows we have five games this week, but that’s also a lot of opportunities for a lot of players,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
Starting on the mound for A&M was junior pitcher Wyatt Tucker, who quickly went to work in the top of the first frame to shut down the Cardinals’ offense with a 1-2-3 inning to bring the Aggies to the plate.
During their 16-inning affair against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Sunday night, the Fightin’ Farmers showcased their plate perseverance and their ability to draw walks. These skills were vital to their offense once again while facing off against UIW, with sophomore center fielder Tab Tracy starting the bottom of the first with a lead-off walk and junior shortstop Hunter Haas following suit with a walk of his own.
Later in the inning, junior designated hitter Ryan Targac would draw a walk, loading the bases for junior third baseman Trevor Werner.
“We always want to have guys on base, especially for the heart of our order,” Haas said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re up 10, or if it’s a one-run game or we’re tied in the 16th inning — we try to keep every at-bat and treat every pitch like it’s the same.”
A hard-hit ground ball from Werner was unable to be handled by the Cardinal’s third baseman, allowing Tracy to score the first run of the game. Freshman left-fielder Kaeden Kent’s first at-bat of the game then resulted in a double, scoring three more runs for the Aggies and giving them a 4-0 lead to end the first frame.
“I really like how our team has been swinging the bat the last few games,” Haas said.
The top of the second inning saw another shutout performance from Tucker, walking only one batter and forcing the rest to hit fly balls and groundouts that were easily handled by the maroon and white’s defense.
Defensive changes for A&M resulted in Werner exiting the game with a hamstring issue, being replaced by Kent at third base. Entering the game to play left field was freshman outfielder Kasen Wells.
“Going to third, I’ve taken some reps and some ground balls there,” Kent said. “It wasn’t that big of a transition — I’ve been an infielder my whole life.”
Junior catcher Hank Bard led off the bottom half of the frame with a single drilled down the middle, and a sacrifice fly hit by Haas would send him home to increase A&M’s lead to 5-0.
With Tucker continuing to deal in the third inning, the Aggies were quickly provided with another opportunity to produce at the plate — an opportunity they did not waste.
In his first offensive appearance of the game, Wells was able to deliver a base hit down the third baseline, steal second and then advance to third. He then scored off of Kent’s double to the left field wall, giving the Fightin’ Farmers a 6-0 lead.
“Kasen’s been a really good player for us,” Schlossnagle said. “He can obviously run … he’s an extremely tough, confident player.”
The top of the fourth, which would be Tucker’s final full frame on the mound, was another 1-2-3 inning.
“It was a step in the right direction [for Tucker] and it needs to continue to improve,” Schlossnagle said.
The Aggies continued their barrage of offensive aggression in the bottom of the inning, with Tracy hitting a single and Haas hammering a two-run home run over the left field wall.
A series of defensive errors and consecutive walks resulted in the Cardinals loading the bases in the fifth inning, and Tucker was relieved in favor of sophomore pitcher Brad Rudis after walking in UIW’s first run of the game. However, Rudis allowed three more runs before the Aggies were able to escape the inning with their lead cut in half with a score of 8-4.
“I think he [Tucker] walked four — which should never happen against a team that had a 6% walk rate going into the year,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s not a team you should ever walk.”
A&M was unable to score in the fifth inning, and after Rudis was replaced by freshman pitcher Shane Sdao in the top of the sixth, the Cardinals’ offensive momentum was snuffed out as well.
Haas was able to reignite the Aggies’ offensive efforts in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run — his second of the night, and senior second baseman Austin Bost reached first on a fly ball to center field.
Before Tuesday, Haas had hit two home runs in his career — a number he managed to double in the matchup.
“He’s healthy, strong, confident — he feels good about where he is,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s obviously a heck of a player on both sides of the ball.”
After singling to right field, Targac attempted to steal second base. In a failed attempt to pick him off, the Cardinals’ catcher threw the ball into center field, which allowed Bost to reach home safely, allowing A&M to widen the deficit to 10-4 in the frame.
Neither team was able to score in the seventh inning, but the top of the eighth saw Sdao relieved by senior pitcher Carson Lambert, who allowed UIW to score a lead-off solo home run, and the score moved to 10-5 respectively.
In their final frame, the Aggies tacked on three more runs with doubles from Tracy and junior first baseman Jack Moss, followed by a single from Bost.
With Lambert striking out the final batter in the ninth inning, the maroon and white were able to claim a 13-5 victory, starting their five-game week with a win and continuing to build momentum as the season ramps up.
“Austin Bost, Trevor Werner, Targac, Hunter Haas, Jack Moss — they hit the ball great today,” Kent said. “It’s big for us, getting rolling in this five-game week.”

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