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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 win regional opener over Texas Southern

Photo by Vanessa Pena

Nick Banks rounds second for a two run home run against Texas Southern University

Coming off their loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament, and after being snubbed for a national seed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the Texas A&M Aggies said they were playing with a chip on their shoulder. They started the regional off on the right foot, shutting out Texas Southern, 5-0 to advance to the winners’ bracket of the regional. A&M was led by another solid performance from Matt Kent on the mound, and the hot bat of Nick Banks.

“I’m proud of our team,” said A&M head coach Rob Childress. “I thought we played extremely well tonight. It all started on the mound with Matt Kent. I thought he did fabulous work and we played really good defense behind him. Give [Texas Southern] credit. They are an extremely well coached team.”

After a four inning deadlock, Nick Banks broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the fourth inning. With Mitchell Nau on second after a leadoff double, Nick Banks sent a ball to right field for a two run homer that gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead. Banks led A&M offensively, going 2-for-4 with the only two RBI for the Aggies.

“We just made an adjustment to move up in the box a little bit,” said Banks. “You have to see pitchers and [Rios] did a good job keeping the ball down. He really fed off of us the first few times through the lineup.”

Matt Kent was a buzz saw for the Aggies on the mound. He was named starter in lieu of Grayson Long and pitched yet another fine game. He worked seven innings, scattering six hits and allowing zero runs. Kent also had nine strikeouts throughout the evening, tying his career high for the fourth time. He left to a standing ovation from the Olsen Field crowd.

Texas Southern created their biggest threat of the game in the sixth inning. With two on and two outs, an error on Hunter Melton would load the bases. Banks would be the savior with a sliding catch in right field to save two sure runs from crossing the plate, and the Tiger opportunity would go begging.

“I was fortunate enough to make that play,” said Banks. “That’s a play that can go really good or really bad, I’m just glad I was on the good end of it.”

The Aggies brought their gloves to the park ready to make plays Friday night. After struggling with defense recently, the Aggies helped Texas Southern to 0-for-8 when batting with runners in scoring position. After hitting a first inning double, the Tigers did not record another extra base hit for the remainder of the evening.

A&M gained a few insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. RBI from Hunter Melton, Nick Choruby, and Logan Nottebrok helped the Aggies to a three run inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead with them into the ninth inning.

After Kent exited the mound, Andrew Vinson came on in relief. He was spectacular, as he struck out three, and shut down the Tigers to earn his fifth save of the season.
The win moves A&M into the winners’ bracket of the regional. The Aggies will take on California on Saturday evening. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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