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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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Aggies score 19 unanswered runs for run-rule win over Bulldogs

Photo by CJ Smith
Texas A&M infielder Travis Chestnut (4) reacts to his walk-off home run during A&M’s game against Georgia on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Don’t say Ryan Prager didn’t warn you.

The redshirt sophomore LHP was aware of the impact of wind gusts at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park during Texas A&M baseball’s win over Georgia on Friday. The Aggies took advantage of the jet stream blowing towards center field to blast four home runs.

“We mentioned [the wind] coming into the weekend, but it is what it is,” Prager said. “Both teams have to play in it. We kind of accepted it, called it out what it is because everyone knows that the wind’s blowing out. I think I even saw a Tweet that said tomorrow’s supposed to be even worse.”

Talk about foreshadowing, or perhaps even an omen. On Saturday, April 27, it was in full effect with gusts as strong as 35 miles per hour. It became part of a formula that willed No. 1 A&M to a nine-run comeback over No. 20 Georgia in the first leg of the day’s doubleheader, as strong winds coupled with power hitters led to a 19-9 run-rule victory.

Senior 1B Ted Burton and senior 2B Travis Chestnut each clobbered a pair of home runs while a trio of Aggies tallied three hits. Five players knocked in three or more runs.

A simple look at the scoreboard would have one think the Aggies didn’t need the help of the wind, but the first inning proved otherwise. The Bulldogs capitalized on the Southeast winds with a nine-spot in the opening frame, pitting the Maroon and White in a deep hole early on.

An eight-run response by A&M in the bottom of the inning, though, put it right back in the middle of things before junior RF Braden Montgomery’s bases-loaded walk in the third knotted things up at 9.

Another eight-piece by the Aggies in the sixth made a run-rule victory, just an afterthought during Georgia’s 9-0 advantage, a distinct possibility. Senior 2B Travis Chestnut turned it into a reality with the nail in the coffin, a two-run shot to left field in the seventh inning.

Perhaps overlooked in A&M’s 15-hit outburst was a scoreless showing by the team’s bullpen, headlined by sophomore LHP Shane Sdao. In relief of senior RHP Brock Peery after an inning, Sdao turned in four frames of one-hit ball with just two walks and four punchouts.

Like the series opener, the pitching staff aided the Aggies’ efforts with an effective containment of Georgia redshirt sophomore 3B Charlie Condon aside from a first inning homer. The nation’s leader in long balls and batting average capped off the Bulldogs’ nine-run first with a two-run blast that tied the program’s single-season record.

It was the end of a rough outing for junior RHP Tanner Jones that saw him allow nine runs on five hits, three walks and two hit batters. Senior 1B Corey Collins began the damage with a two-run blast as the game’s third batter before freshman LF Tre Phelps added an RBI single.

Senior C Fernando Gonzalez put Georgia up a touchdown with a 432-foot grand slam off the left field scoreboard, with seven Bulldogs scoring the team’s first trip through the lineup. Following Condon’s 28th big fly of the year, the inning’s third out elicited a standing ovation from the crowd of 7,770.

While the cheers may have been sarcastic then, A&M’s lineup gave the fans something genuine to applaud in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore CF Jace LaViolette put the first dent into the lead with a two-run homer of his own, tying his total last season of 21.

Burton’s third home run of the series was followed by freshman LF Caden Sorrell’s RBI double, just shy of a long ball. No matter, as Chestnut made up for it with his first blast of the game, this one plating three runs and bringing the Aggies within a run at 9-8.

After a nearly one-hour first inning that witnessed six home runs for a combined 2,541 feet, the game seemed poised to be a glorified batting practice. Rather, it had shades of a pitcher’s duel as Sdao got into a groove with Georgia graduate RHP Brian Zeldin.

A scoreless fourth and fifth inning were merely the calm before the storm as A&M added eight more runs in the sixth. Montgomery provided half of them on a no-doubt grand slam to center field, followed by Burton’s second homer, a solo shot.

It was only fitting, then, that Chestnut’s two-run homer in the seventh would end it. What started as a routine fly ball to left field was carried by the jet stream just over the left field wall, turning a 9-0 deficit into 19 unanswered runs for a run-rule win.

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About the Contributor
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.
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