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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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No. 1 Aggies combine for 28 runs in doubleheader sweep of Crimson Tide

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Game 1

If the Texas A&M baseball team can treat each inning like it’s been playing in the fifth frame during the past week, it shouldn’t have much trouble maintaining its No. 1 ranking.

Entering the fifth frame of its matchup with No. 18 Alabama on Friday, April 19, the Aggies found themselves trailing 5-0 after an uncharacteristic start from redshirt sophomore LHP Ryan Prager. A&M’s ace turned in just three innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, two walks and a single strikeout.

Just as the series-opener had been postponed by rain to set up Friday’s doubleheader, the Aggies’ offense took time to shift into gear. By the fifth inning, though, it was full speed ahead, as A&M knocked in 10 unanswered runs to claim a 10-5 win in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

It marked the fourth time in the last five games that the Aggies scored six runs in the fifth inning, with the rallies leading to a pair of wins over No. 6 Vanderbilt and a midweek victory over Air Force.

Freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac and sophomore CF Jace LaViolette kicked off the frame with a single and double, respectively, before junior RF Braden Montgomery put A&M on the board with an RBI sacrifice fly. Senior C Jackson Appel plated a run with an RBI double followed by a pair of walks to load the bases.

Representing the go-ahead run, freshman LF Caden Sorrell made the most of his bases-loaded opportunity, belting a fastball to right field for a grand slam and a 6-5 lead.

The inning invoked memories of April 14, when A&M found itself trailing Vanderbilt 4-0 entering the fifth. With a six-run outburst, the Aggies controlled the game from there on out, securing a 12-6 win.

By Friday, the matchup was all Crimson Tide for the first four frames, as Alabama gave Prager an early exit following junior 3B Gage Miller’s solo home run and senior CF TJ McCants’ two-run double in the third.

A walk and single to open the bottom of the fourth chased Prager in favor of junior RHP Chris Cortez, but junior LF Ian Petrutz added to the damage with a two-run shot to right.

The fifth inning, though, coupled a resurgence of the Aggies’ bats with an efficient showing by the pitching staff. Petrutz’s long ball was the worst of it for Cortez, who settled down for 2.1 innings of one-run ball on two hits and two walks with two punchouts.

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao continued in cruise control for 3.2 innings of three hits and five strikeouts. In the meantime, Montgomery and Appel homered in the sixth frame for three runs before Sorrell’s second big fly of the game, a solo blast in the seventh.

Now the clear establishment in the Aggies’ left field, Sorrell picked up his fourth and fifth home runs of the season alongside 22 runs batted in. Montgomery went deep for the 21st time, raising his nation-leading RBI count to 63.

Game 2

In football, the Crimson Tide won a heavy-hitter in College Station, pulling away with a 26-20 win. Then on the hardwood, the Nate Oats-led squad gave coach Buzz Williams and the Aggies fits with a statement 100-75 win.

However, with bats at bay and gloves in hand, No. 1 A&M baseball got its measure of revenge against No. 18 with an early series win in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, securing Game 2 firmly with an 18-9 victory.

Though Game 1 was pushed from April 18 to make it a doubleheader on Friday, April 19, it only delayed the offensive onslaught the Aggies had in store.

Just one hour removed from a 10-5 Game 1 win, graduate DH Hayden Schott wrangled in a three-run homer after  Appel walked and senior 1B Ted Burton singled to grab an early 3-0 lead.

Right after, junior SS Ali Camarillo singled to left field and, after advancing to second on a wild pitch, set up an opportunity for Sorrell to tack on more runs. In Game 1, he stole the show with two homers and the freshman picked up right where he left off, smacking the ball to right field to tally an RBI single.

Unfortunately for Alabama junior RHP Ben Hess, the hits and runs were just starting. Another door opened for the Aggies to score as a single from senior 2B Travis Chestnut and a walk to freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac set up LaViolette to press the gas pedal.

And delivered he did, singling to the right side to plate Chestnut and Sorrell. Before the Crimson Tide could catch their breath, singles from fellow star-in-arms Montgomery and Appel tacked on two more runs to end the second inning up 8-0.

Down big at home, Alabama responded immediately by loading up the bases as senior C Mac Guscette stepped up to the plate. Though he had no homers to his name, the senior nailed the ball to left field to record a grand slam as his first long ball of the season, cutting the Aggies’ lead in half.

With a run-filled second inning, both teams’ bullpens came alive to shut out the third.

Just as he began the game, Schott continued to show out, singling to left field as Montgomery picked up one of two runs for the Aggies in the fourth. Another single from Camarillo brought home Burton and Schott to put the Maroon in White in double figures with 10 runs.

While junior RHP Tanner Jones worked a scoreless frame to keep the Tide at bay, Grahovac came back in the fifth to nail his first homer of the game, a two-run shot.

Just as they had previously, the Tide responded with a homer from freshman SS Justin Lebron and a single from Guscette added two more runs.

Joining in on the home run party, Montgomery smacked it dead to center field to earn his second homer of the day, putting three more on the board for the Aggies.

Though Lebron nailed his second homer of the day, LaViolette put the nail in the coffin with the last home run of the day as the Aggies doubled the Tide’s score 18-9 to secure the early series win.

Finishing up the three-game series, the Maroon and White come back on Saturday, April 20 at noon to face off against the Tide one last time.

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About the Contributors
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a junior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
Justin Chen
Justin Chen, Sports Writer
Justin Chen is a journalism senior minoring in sport management and communication. Justin has covered football, men's basketball, volleyball, baseball and swim & dive. Justin also writes feature NBA pieces and covered the Miami Heat for Sir Charles In Charge. When not writing, he likes to frequent the gym, support Arsenal and watch anime.
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