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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 tabbed 3-seed in Austin Regional, will face Indiana

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Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

 Sophomore shortstop Braden Shewmake rounds first base after getting a hit. 

Texas A&M will make the trip 90 miles west down Highway 21 this weekend to play as the 3-seed in the Austin Regional, hosted by longtime rival and No. 13 national seed Texas.
The Aggies (39-20) will begin their quest to return to Omaha against Indiana (38-17, 14-9 Big Ten) Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.
“It’s exciting to have our name called,” A&M head coach Rob Childress, who has led the Aggies to their 12th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, said. “It never gets old.”
After going 3-1 last week in the SEC Tournament, the Aggies solidified their spot in the Field of 64 and for the second-straight season will open NCAA Tournament play as the 3-seed against a Big Ten school in an away regional in Texas.
The Hoosiers are coming off a 1-2 showing in the Big Ten Tournament last week in Omaha. Indiana boasts one of the premier pitching staffs in the nation with a 2.95 ERA, which is fifth-best in the nation. Junior right-hander Jonathan Stiever (5-5, 2.89 ERA) led the Big Ten in strikeouts this season with 96.
“Chris Lemonis and his staff do an amazing job,” Childress said of Indiana. “They’ve been in the postseason three of the last four years. Their statistics are eerily similar to ours, hit about the same and they’ve got the Big Ten’s strikeout leader that we’ll face I’m sure.”
Despite having to play the Hoosiers first, it is hard to overlook the potential matchup with Texas, who the Aggies defeated 6-5 at Olsen Field on April 10. Still, the team knows how important it is to stay focused on Indiana.
“It’s going to mean a little bit more, but we’ve also got to remember that we’ve got Indiana first,” shortstop Braden Shewmake said of playing in the Austin Regional. “Texas is always in the back of your mind, but we’ve got to put Indiana first and we know we’re playing a really good ball club so we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Players and coaches alike are in favor of playing close to home and hope to see a strong showing from the 12th Man in Austin.
“It’s going to be as good of an atmosphere as we could hope for other than playing at home, but it’s going to be like playing at home seeing a lot of A&M fans there,” third baseman George Janca said, who grew up 20 minutes from Disch-Falk Field in Georgetown. “I think it’s going to be a big asset for us having a home crowd.”
Childress said he expects sophomore southpaw John Doxakis to start on Friday against Indiana. Senior Kaylor Chafin added that he plans on pitching out of the bullpen in the Regional despite starting last Tuesday against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.
The Aggies do feel rejuvenated on the mound after a dominant showing from their pitching staff last week.
“I feel like we’re just being competitive,” Chafin said of the pitching staff. “We all went into the [SEC] Tournament expecting something to prove and we went in there and I felt like we did a good job of just competing really hard.”
The Aggies will head to Austin on Thursday before taking on Indiana on Friday.

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