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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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Aggies face Irish in CWS elimination game

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior CF Jordan Thompson (31) stomps his foot on home plate after hitting a game-tying home run at Olsen Field on Friday, June 10, 2022.

With horns sawed and bubbles blown, the Texas A&M baseball team stays alive for another round of Pringles, facing Notre Dame in a high-stakes elimination game on Tuesday, June 21.
After a crucial win against long-time rival Texas in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday, June 19, the Aggies will continue to fight for their lives — this time, facing a talented Fighting Irish team in another loser-goes-home matchup.
“​​We’re coming off a win with some confidence,” A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Notre Dame is coming off a loss. [The] off day helps a lot.”
In Sunday’s game against the Longhorns, junior right-handed pitcher Micah Dallas pitched five innings while only giving up one earned run, and, in relief, senior lefty Jacob Palisch pitched 2.2 innings, while freshman righty Brad Rudis pitched 1.1.
Schlossnagle has not confirmed a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Irish, instead stating that it would be an “all hands on deck type of thing.”
“At the [College World Series], for us to get through this thing, you need guys like [sophomore right-handers] Xavier Lovett, Walker Zander, Alex Magers — and Wyatt Tucker [who] has already pitched. These guys have to pitch, and they have to pitch a lot,” Schlossnagle said.
In the Aggies’ first game of the tournament, A&M utilized six different pitchers against Oklahoma — one of whom was Tucker, pitching a team-high three innings — and may turn to a similar committee-based pitching game plan against a team with a deep pitching crew of its own.
“Notre Dame specifically has super deep pitching, maybe the best depth of pitching that we have seen all season,” Schlossnagle said.
In the team’s loss to Oklahoma on Sunday, though, the Irish were forced to go seven-pitchers deep into their bullpen after only throwing out three pitchers in their Omaha opener against Texas. Notre Dame’s depth will prove crucial after exhausting 10 different pitchers in two games since Friday, June 17.
As for the Aggies, the team’s bats have seen signs of struggle from the stars. The three batters to be named to All-SEC teams — graduate outfielder Dylan Rock, junior designated hitter Austin Bost and sophomore infielder Ryan Targac — hit for a combined 1-for-12 against Oklahoma and 3-for-11 against Texas.
Rather, the early star of the show has been junior outfielder Jordan Thompson. Following a two-run, three-RBI opener that included a homer, Thompson showed out again with a 2-for-2, two-RBI, two-run outing.
Even while the team’s strongest batters have started slow, the rest of the crew has shown up, still putting up 12 runs in two games. The Aggies have made it work so far, even though they are yet to fire on all cylinders. For example, while Targac finished 1-for-3 against Texas, he still scored four runs. Yet, Schlossnagle expects more from his hitters.
“We can not keep giving up free outs,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s miserable and hard to watch.”
As for Notre Dame’s batting, despite putting up seven runs in the team’s first game against Texas, the Irish struggled mightily against Oklahoma’s pitchers, particularly against redshirt freshman Cade Horton. The righty pitched 11 strikeouts in six innings, allowing just two runs in a 6-2 victory for the Sooners. Notre Dame was struck out 14 times across nine innings.
“At the end of the day when you strike out 14 times, you’re not forcing them into enough [tough positions], and they beat us,” Notre Dame coach Link Jarrett said.
If the Aggies — who pitched 12 strikeouts against Oklahoma and 10 against Texas — can maintain similar pressure from the mound, they can force Notre Dame into those tough positions to which Jarrett alluded. But if the Aggies continue their sloppiness in the field, leading the NCAA tournament in errors, the Irish may be in luck.
Having played both Texas and Oklahoma once each, the Aggies have currently outscored the Irish against both common opponents, but all that matters is who scores the most when they meet each other.
The game will kick off on Tuesday, June 21 at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The loser goes home, while the winner will get the opportunity to try and topple Oklahoma twice in a row in hopes of a championship berth.

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