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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

Air Force None

No. 1 Aggies plate 15 as team run-rules Falcons, 15-5
Photo by Photo by CJ Smith
Sophomore CF Jace LaViolette (17) runs the bases after hitting a home run during A&M’s games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

On Monday morning, college baseball had a new unanimous No. 1 ranked team: the Texas A&M Aggies.

After the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks and No. 2 Clemson Tigers lost their respective weekend series, the Aggies ascended to the top spot with a dominant sweep of No. 6 Vanderbilt.

The next day, the sky was cloudy and gray in College Station when A&M took on Air Force in its 37th game of the year, but the feeling in the crowd at Olsen Field was anything but.

It may have been the Maroon and White’s first game as the top-ranked team in the nation, but did the Aggies treat it any differently?

“Rankings don’t matter, right? They don’t,” sophomore CF Jace LaViolette said. “At the end of the year, you want to be number one. And I mean, that’s all our goal is. And every single day we come here as if it’s our first game of the season, so that we have that same opening day mentality.”

Per usual this season, A&M didn’t skip a beat in this game, and it got things started quickly. LaViolette and junior RF Braden Montgomery launched back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead right away.

The powerful duo of LaViolette and Montgomery have now combined for an absurd 37 home runs in the same amount of games this season, and they are responsible for half of the team’s 75 home runs.

A&M didn’t hit any more homers the rest of the game, but it chipped away at the Air Force pitching staff the rest of the night. After the Falcons tied it in the third thanks to a two-run shot from sophomore 1B Charlie Jones, LaViolette gave the Aggies the lead right back in the fourth with an RBI triple to make it 4-3. After a Montgomery walk, senior 1B Ted Burton singled to center to drive in LaViolette.

The Aggies eventually exploded for a six-run inning in the fifth that gave them a monster 11-3 advantage. Freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac tallied an RBI single to get the scoring started, and LaViolette hit a single of his own to bring him a double shy of the cycle.

The Maroon and White batted around until freshman 2B Jack Bell, who pinch hit for senior 2B Travis Chestnut, grounded out to end the frame.

LaViolette homered once again in the sixth inning, sending a two-run bomb towards the bullpen in right field that extended the lead for the Aggies to 13-4.

The team “walked it off” in the bottom of the seventh when senior 1B Ryan Targac hit a sac fly to run-rule Air Force 15-5.

Scoring runs has simply been the name of the game for the Aggies in 2024. The team has scored 334 runs and hit a combined .307 this year, both of which are the third-most in the SEC.

Pitching-wise, this game was a bullpen game for the A&M pitching staff. Freshman RHP Weston Moss was the starter for coach Jim Schlossnagle, but he only tossed 1.2 innings until he was pulled for senior RHP Zane Badmaev.

Schlossnagle used a total of six pitchers in the game, and they allowed a total of five runs and nine hits. They also recorded seven strikeouts and walked one batter. Every pitcher for the Aggies except for senior RHP Brock Peery allowed exactly one earned run. It wasn’t the prettiest game for the A&M staff, but it got the job done.

“So it’s just trying to find that guy that we’re going to need, you know,” Schlossnagle said. “If we’re in a postseason to pitch in a conference tournament or they’ll lose your bracket game in a regional or College World Series.”

The Aggies will be on the road this weekend when they take on the No. 18 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The first game will be on Thursday, April 18 at 6 p.m.

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