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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies to face No. 10 Bulldogs in road series

Past the halfway point of the season, Texas A&M baseball sits at a 6-6 record in SEC play and 20-12 overall with four out of five ranked wins.
But, over the next two weeks, the Aggies will enter a brutal stretch of high-quality opponents in the first elongated test for coach Jim Schlossnagle and his first-year team. Starting Thursday, April 14, A&M begins a road series against No. 10 Georgia, who is 17-2 in Athens, Ga., this season.
The Bulldogs have five men batting over .300, three who get on-base at over .450 and a definite No. 1 pitcher in 6-foot-6 junior Jonathan Cannon. But, he’s one of four Georgia pitchers to be bitten by the injury bug, and it’s unclear if he’ll return for this upcoming series. Cannon is an integral part of Georgia’s success, as he owns the SEC’s third-best ERA and opposing batting average at 1.71 and .171, respectively.
Schlossnagle said it’ll be an uphill battle, starting with the road trip this weekend, but the Aggies’ fortitude and resolve is encouraging to see, even when things aren’t going perfectly.
“These guys play hard, and they’ve bought into everything we’re trying to do,” Schlossnagle said. “They find ways to win ball games. Now, we’ve got to get on the road for league play and go to a nationally ranked club. We have our work cut out for us.”
After Georgia, A&M will face No. 19 Dallas Baptist in the midweek matchup, hosts No. 5 Arkansas the following weekend, faces Sam Houston State at home before traveling to Vanderbilt. The new players and coaching staff have been enthusiastic about the opportunity of playing the best of the best, so over the next 16 days, they will have plenty of chances to prove themselves.
Thankfully for the Aggies, they are in their best stretch of recent play since opening weekend. They’ve won four of their last five games, but more importantly, A&M has gotten some great pitching performances to go along with a productive offense. Those two aspects have been separate from each other earlier in the season, but the bottom line is: A&M is playing its best baseball at the right time.
Following the Alabama series loss, the Aggies went on to beat then-No. 15 Texas State and take two of three from Kentucky with 23 runs scored over the series. A&M also won on the road over A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night with 12 hits and great relief pitching.
Junior lefty Joseph Menefee had his best outing by tossing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen and striking out five, allowing just one hit. Sophomore first baseman Jack Moss said Menefee’s performance was impressive and he’s looking forward to seeing him continue.
“He’s as good a pitcher as anybody in the country,” Moss said. “It’s awesome to see him have the success he’s having, and we just need him to keep it going for us.”
Menefee said his ability to place pitches well was encouraging for himself, and that pitching coach Nate Yeskie’s pitch calling took a bit of pressure away from the southpaw.
“[It was] one of the better days of command for me,” Menefee said. “Yeskie was calling the game, and when he’s there with his mastermind, you just trust it and execute to the best of your ability.”
Graduate outfielder Dylan Rock has emerged as one of the team’s top hitters after receiving SEC Co-Player of the Week honors by leading the conference in on-base percentage, runs scored and walks on during week. He also ranked second in RBIs with 12.
Rock and Moss are sure to be an important tandem for Schlossnagle over the next few weeks. Moss has continued to improve through the end of March and into April with his batting average sitting at a team-leading .383, has reached base in 31 of 32 games this season and has a team-leading OPS of 1.013.
In the 5-3 win over the Islanders, Moss had his fourth three-plus hit game of the season by going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and an RBI.
“I just think it’s preparation and doing the fundamentals day-in and day-out,” Moss said.
The Georgia series gets going a bit earlier than normal on Thursday, April 14 at 5 p.m. Games 2 and 3 are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with Game 3’s first pitch at 3 p.m. The three-game series can be watched on SEC Network+.

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