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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies lose 5-2 to Longhorns

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior SS Hunter Haas (2) tags Texas 1B Jared Thomas (9) for an out during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at Olsen Field on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

On March 28, 7,347 attendees showed up at Blue Bell Park to witness one of the most intense rivalries in collegiate sports. The annual Texas A&M vs Texas midweek showdown took place in College Station for the first time in Schlossnagle’s career in the maroon and white.
Unfortunately, this season-high attendance record wasn’t enough to get the Aggies the win and flip the season script around.
“It’s my job to give the fans something to cheer about,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
Freshman LHP Shane Sdao was named the starter against the Longhorns after fellow freshman LHP Justin Lamkin was brought into the weekend rotation. Thus, this wasn’t Sdao’s first start.
The Montgomery native has relieved in five games this season, shoving for at least two innings in the last four. He has tallied 19 strikeouts and walked only three batters. This impressive resume has gifted him his first start in his young career in the most crucial midweek matchup of the season.
To start the game, Sdao allowed three hits, one of which resulted in a 2-run RBI that gave Texas an early 2-0 lead. Despite early runs, the lefty forced a lofty but short foul out next to first base and gathered two frontward K’s to bring the maroon and white back to the dugout.
The Aggies got on base early in the second half of the first as junior SS Hunter Haas was walked on a 3-1 count to start the offensive effort. The following two batters failed to reach base; however, they did enough to get Haas into scoring position for freshman LF Jace Laviolette to knock him in with an RBI single.
The 19-year-old pitcher continued to attack the strike zone and display true mound awareness as the second inning elapsed. After sending two Longhorns back to the pine, Sdao would pick off freshman 1B Jared Thomas on his attempt to steal second to end the inning.
This marked the fifth straight out for No. 38.
Unfortunately, Sdao would soon run out of steam and be replaced by his high school teammate, RHP Ty Sexton. After four straight singles and another run, the short leash wrapped around Sdao’s neck would be tugged by Schlossnagle and Sexton would be called onto the mound.
“Sdao gave up eight hits in [three] innings, but he threw a bunch of strikes,” Schlossnagle said. “I felt really good about Sdao.”
With the bases loaded and no outs, the redshirt freshman would grab his shovel and look to dig his team out of the hole Sdao left them in.
The Lake Creek High School alumnus would go three up, three down with a strikeout, pop-up and ground out to end the inning and send the Aggies back to the box without a scratch and just a few stains on the off-white uniforms.
“It felt really good,” Sexton said. “I knew it was bases loaded coming in. I just had to do what coach [Nate] Yeskie told me to do and execute it … Felt really good.”
As the Aggies continued to grind it out in the field, nothing seemed to go their way in the box. Through the first four innings, they only connected on three at-bats. Even with the hits, they ran quite foolishly around the bases.
Attempting to achieve a three-bagger, junior 3B Trevor Werner would stumble halfway between second and third and would be tagged out before obtaining the triple. Just an inning before, freshman Kasen Wells would be picked off at first base following his single to left field.
Only one hit — Laviolette’s in the bottom of the first — brought any value to the Aggies, as it knocked in their only run of the game so far.
After an injury to his thumb on Feb. 17, senior RF Brett Minnich would be forced to sit out for over a month.
“The original plan was six weeks,” Minnich said. “That would’ve put me at this past weekend.”
Despite not having him for LSU, Minnich returned for the Tuesday matchup against Texas where he played great defensively, Schlossnagle said, and had a highlight reel catch in right field to carry some momentum to the second half of the sixth.
“I’m feeling good,” Minnich said. “We had simulation games on Monday and I was hitting pretty good so I told coach [Schlossnagle] I was ready to go and here I am.”
With the count full, Haas would connect on a pitch for a triple to left-center field. Junior 1B Jack Moss would follow with a hit of his own to left-center, which would score Haas for the first run since the first inning. This cut the deficit to just one with a few innings left to play.
As the Aggies continued to inch closer to the Longhorns, a comeback looked inevitable. Then along came the eighth inning.
The relievers seemed to have worn the same leash that Sdao donned earlier in the matchup. All it took was just one hit before Schlossnagle pulled the pitcher and sent in the next man up. In the top of the eighth alone, the 12th Man sat through four pitchers and two runs on only two hits.
The Longhorns managed to increase the one-point lead to three before the bottom of the eighth and looked to find themselves with a comfortable path to victory for the first time since June 2, 2018.
Three strikeouts from senior LHP Matt Dillard in the top half of the sixth would send the Aggies into the bottom of the ninth with one final chance to put something together and find some “Olsen Magic.”
“Dillard is a big positive for us,” Schlossnagle said.
With junior PR Travis Chestnut on second and Werner on third, A&M found itself with a chance to spark a rally or potentially tie the game. With the count at 0-2, Wells was in the box and looked ready to swing at the next pitch.
Instead, he watched it fly right past him into the catcher’s glove, and the game ended 5-2 in the Longhorns’ favor.
A&M will return to Blue Bell Park on Friday, March 31, for its third SEC weekend series of the season against Ole Miss.

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