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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 seeking revenge in Regional opener against Baylor

Brigham+Hill+is+7-3+with+a+2.96+ERA+with+a+team-high+95+strikeouts+in+2017.
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Brigham Hill is 7-3 with a 2.96 ERA with a team-high 95 strikeouts in 2017.

The last time Texas A&M and Baylor squared off on the diamond, the Bears scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth — capped off with a monster walk-off grand slam by Tucker Cascadden — to deliver a demoralizing 6-3 blow to the Aggies on March 5.
The Aggies (36-21) will try to extract some revenge on the Bears Friday as the two teams square off in the opener of the Houston Regional at Schroeder Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
“From what we saw they’re very competitive and they’re going to fight until the end,” A&M starting pitcher Brigham Hill told reporters Thursday. “They’re going to give us a great game.”
Head coach Rob Childress announced Hill will get the ball for the Aggies against the Bears, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The junior right-hander from Nacogdoches has been the team’s ace since the start of the season and pitched the first game of every weekend series in the regular season.
While the first game of a series is always important, winning the opener of the double-elimination Regional is nearly essential to advancing to next weekend’s Super Regional. The loser of game one is immediately sent to the loser’s bracket, meaning they have to win four games to move on, a nearly impossible task no matter how much talent a team has.
“[The first game] is huge because it sets up the rest of the weekend,” said Hill, who is 7-3 on the season with a 2.96 ERA. “I’m just going to go out there and do my best. You can’t be nervous — it’s the postseason, so you’ve got to treat it like any other game and have fun and work hard.”
The Bears (34-21, 12-12 Big 12) will counter with junior righty Montana Parsons, who has pitched on Saturdays for Baylor, but will slide into the Friday role due to the critical nature of the opener.
Offensively, Baylor ranked second in the Big 12 with a .296 team batting average and averaged better than six runs per game in the regular season. First baseman Aaron Dodson leads the Bears with a .335 average with 10 homers, while catcher Shea Langliers is hitting .324 with 10 dingers of his own.
In addition to their deep, potent lineup and Parsons on the mound, the Bears also boast two effective relief pitchers — closer Troy Montemayor (12 saves) and setup man Kyle Hill (2.79 ERA) — who they will likely turn to in the late innings if the game is close.
Before dropping the last four games of the season, the Bears won 10 of their last 11 games to secure the 2-seed in the Regional.
“We’re familiar with them, [BU head coach] Steve Rodriguez is one of my very best friends and they’ve had an amazing end of the year,” Childress said. “It ought to be a great opening game.”
The Aggies aim to get back to their winning ways after a brutal finish to the 2017 regular season. Childress’ club lost eight of its final ten games, including three SEC series losses and a disappointing 12-7 loss in their lone SEC Tournament contest.
“We didn’t play like we wanted to in the SEC Tournament but we went back to College Station, had some good practices and we’re all feeling really good right now,” said freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake, who was named a Collegiate Baseball first-team All-American on Thursday. “We’re really excited and we’re hoping to make some noise.”
Shewmake, the SEC Freshman of the Year, has been a consistent source of production in the middle of the Aggies’ lineup this season, leading the team in batting average, home runs and RBI. He leads all Division I freshman in hits, total bases and RBI.
“He’s been a leader for us in every respect — we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Braden Shewmake,” Childress said. “He’s been a special player for us defensively, offensively and I expect him to have a great regional.”
“It’s been kind of unreal, not sure if my feet have touched the ground yet,” Shewmake said of his freshman campaign, “but we’re looking to come in here and play some good baseball.”
The Aggies have advanced to the Super Regional in each of the past two seasons and beating Baylor is a crucial step to making it three in a row.
“It’s a new season,” Childress concluded. “We had a great week of preparation and I know Baylor is going to get our best shot Friday.”

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