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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggies head on the road to face Kentucky after big week at home

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Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Junior Braden Shewmake fields a ground ball at shortstop and throws the runner out at first.

Texas A&M has plenty of momentum on the diamond riding a three-game winning streak, but the No. 13 Aggies (18-5) hope their momentum will continue this weekend as they travel to face Kentucky in the team’s first true road series of the season.
“We always tell our team all it takes is a spark to start a fire,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “Looking forward to the challenge of going on the road for the first time in the SEC.”
Although A&M didn’t face Kentucky last season, the Aggies vividly remember the Wildcats’ visit to College Station two years ago. Kentucky smoked A&M’s pitching staff, outscoring the Aggies 24-13 in a three-game sweep to begin conference play.
The Aggies hope to return the favor during a trip to Lexington where the Wildcats are debuting their newly renovated Kentucky Proud Park.
“We kind of owe them, we’re all ready to go and anxious to get up there,” outfielder Cam Blake said. “We still have a lot to prove. Yeah we’re coming off a big weekend, but at the same we’re climbing to the top of the mountain, so we need to know that we have to keep striving to be our best every day.”
This year’s Kentucky team isn’t as hot as the one that came into Aggieland two years ago, though. The Wildcats were one of four teams swept during the first weekend of SEC play, dropping four games on the road to LSU, before responding with a convincing 16-3 win over Xavier on Tuesday.
“Certainly going into a new stadium, a new $50 million dollar stadium, the first SEC series there at Kentucky, we know we’ll get their best shot,” Childress said.
Likewise, the Aggies have finally found their way at the plate. A&M had issues consistently barreling the ball over the first month of the season, but have finally come around driving in runs in key situations and with runners on base.
“It’s a huge confidence booster for us as a whole,” Blake said. “We have guys starting to get going. [Jonathan] Ducoff’s producing, [Braden] Shewmake’s starting to come around, and we have other guys throughout the lineup who are going to get going and it’s good to see us starting to hit our stride.”
Additionally, the Aggies could get some help against a lefty heavy Kentucky pitching staff as Logan Foster, who suffered a strained quad, is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last three games.
Furthermore, right-handed pitcher Christian Roa flourished as the Sunday starter last weekend against Vanderbilt. He earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after tossing 7.0 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and two walks. The sophomore will make his third consecutive Sunday start this weekend.
“Getting that series win against Vanderbilt was huge,” Roa said. “I think it was great for our whole team. We really showed the resilience to punch back after that Friday night game where we didn’t really play that well. We came back and win two.”
While Roa is beginning to roar, the Aggies hope their Friday and Saturday starters can get back on track.
Sure-fire southpaws John Doxakis and Asa Lacy struggled last week against the Commodores, as Doxakis dropped his second straight start and Lacy failed to earn a win for the first time all season.
Doxakis will face off against fellow left-hander Zack Thompson (1-0, 2.20 ERA), who played will Doxakis last summer on USA’s Collegiate National Team.
“John Doxakis wasn’t real good against Gonzaga, I think he would be the first one to tell you that, was a lot better against Vanderbilt. They took a lot of pitches from him, took him out of the game early, but it’s a really good feeling for us as a program going into any weekend series with John Doxakis and Asa Lacy leading us in,” Childress said.
Game one between the Aggies and Wildcats is set for a 5:30 p.m. Game two will begin at 1 p.m. and the series will conclude on Sunday at noon. All games will be aired on SEC Network Plus.

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