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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies pounced on by Tigers, drop first SEC series

Junior+Batter+Ryan+Targac+%2816%29+swings+his+bat+to+hit+the+baseball+at+Olsen+Field+on+Friday%2C+March+17%2C+2023.
Photo by A Nguyen

Junior Batter Ryan Targac (16) swings his bat to hit the baseball at Olsen Field on Friday, March 17, 2023.

After getting shut down by LSU’s ace Paul Skenes in the series opener on Friday, March 17, the Aggies sought to right their wrongs in Game 2 to force a rubber match on Sunday.
Despite A&M’s bats driving in seven runs, the Aggie bullpen could not sustain any form of consistency against the Tigers’ potent offense. In total, A&M’s pitchers surrendered 12 runs on 12 hits, while also giving up 14 free bases in the 12-7 loss.
Sophomore LHP Troy Wansing, in his fifth start of the year, had trouble locating the strike zone. In just 2.2 innings of work, the left-hander threw four strikeouts, but gave up six walks and a hit batter on 76 pitches.
Wansing got himself into trouble in the top of the second inning, as after striking out the first batter, the starter put himself in a bases-loaded jam by walking three LSU hitters on 12-straight balls. Wansing recovered, striking out the next two batters to escape the inning unscathed.
“He pitched himself out of a bit of a jam,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I thought he might catch fire. I thought he was the perfect pitcher to match up to the team we played today.”
The Aggies put themselves on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second. To lead off the inning, senior 2B Austin Bost singled to left field to get the lead-off man aboard. Junior 1B Ryan Targac drew a four-pitch walk to elicit “Ball Five” chants from the Aggie faithful and put two on with no outs.
Freshman 3B Kaeden Kent cashed in on the runner in scoring position, driving a single to right field to bring in Bost. After outs from senior CF Jordan Thompson and freshman LF Jace LaViolette, a single from junior C Hank Bard stretched the Aggies’ lead to two.
A&M worked out of another bases-loaded jam in the next inning after Wansing walked and hit a batter, and junior LHP Evan Aschenbeck walked another with two outs after replacing Wansing. Junior SS Hunter Haas protected the Aggies’ lead, as he dove and snagged a line drive to center field to secure the final out of the inning.
After surrendering two singles to start the fourth, Aschenbeck forced an infield fly and a groundout to seemingly get out of the inning without surrendering a run. The left-hander walked the next batter, and was replaced by senior LHP Matt Dillard with bases loaded. LSU took advantage of runners in scoring position for the first time, racking up four consecutive hits to give the Tigers the 6-4 lead, which they would not surrender for the rest of the game.
“Everybody after [Wansing, had an] inability to throw strikes,” Schlossnagle said. “Guys we didn’t walk, we pitched behind in the count. Obviously, just let a really good team back in the ballgame. We were one pitch away from the inning being over and we gave up six runs.”
The Aggies scored again in the sixth and ninth, but could not muster enough production to overcome the deficit created by LSU and lost the series to the Tigers.
“Some guys in the lineup, like Haas, Jack, Bost for the most part, they’re bought into what we’re doing,” Schlossnagle said. “Other guys either haven’t, or can’t.”
A&M will try to salvage the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. and avoid its first conference sweep in the Schlossnagle era.

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