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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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A&M baseball burned by long ball early, drops Game 2 to Arkansas 3-1

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore third baseman Trevor Werner (28) throws a practice ball into the dugout at Olsen Field on Friday, April 22, 2022.

Section 12 was filled up underneath the beaming sunlight. The playground was busy and the grass on the right field berm was covered up by spectators. On a windy — but otherwise picturesque — day in Bryan-College Station, Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park was packed for an SEC West showdown between No. 3 Arkansas and Texas A&M on Saturday, April 23.
Following a thrilling 2-1 win by the Aggies on Friday in front of a similar crowd, the maroon and white would send junior right-hander Micah Dallas and his 4.61 ERA to the mound to make his 10th start of the season. For the Razorbacks, freshman left-hander Hagen Smith would toe the slab with a 3.88 ERA while also making his 10th start of the season. Neither starter went deep into the game, but Smith was more effective as Arkansas evened up the series at one apiece to set up the rubber match Sunday afternoon.
Arkansas wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as senior designated hitter Brady Slavens crushed a home run into right center over Slovacek’s ‘Patio at the Park’ to give the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. A&M loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but came up empty as junior designated hitter Austin Bost flew out to right.
Arkansas senior right fielder Chris Lanzilli smoked a lead-off double into left field in the second and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0, Razorbacks. A&M sophomore third baseman Trevor Werner worked a one-out walk, but that was all for the Aggies in the second.
Slavens hit his second homer of the game to leadoff the third, this one more to straightaway center to make it 3-0 Arkansas. He took over the team lead in home runs with 10. Following a lead-off walk by A&M senior left fielder Dylan Rock, A&M sophomore second baseman Ryan Targac doubled with two outs on a pop-up to shallow center that three Razorbacks failed to collect. Bost once again came to bat with runners in scoring position, but a groundout to third ended the threat.
Dallas recorded his first scoreless frame in the fourth by stranding a one-out single by Arkansas senior shortstop Jalen Battles. Back-to-back walks by A&M junior right fielder Brett Minnich and Werner knocked Smith out of the game. After a lineout by A&M junior center fielder Jordan Thompson advanced Minnich to third, he scored on a sacrifice fly by A&M senior shortstop Kole Kaler to get the Aggies on the board and cut the Arkansas lead to 3-1.
A&M junior left-hander Joseph “Moo” Menefee relieved Dallas to start the fifth, and the southpaw faced the minimum. Arkansas junior lefty Zack Morris continued to pitch in relief of Smith, and he induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to extinguish the Aggies’ momentum.
Menefee worked himself into some two-out trouble in the sixth, but he used his slider to collect a strikeout and strand two Razorbacks in scoring position. Morris recorded the first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon for either side, as he sat down the bottom of the Aggies’ order.
Menefee was electric in the seventh in a 1-2-3 inning in which he retired Slavens for the first time in the game with a strikeout and punched out Arkansas sophomore third baseman Cayden Wallace to end the inning — bringing the 12th Man to their feet.
Just over 7,000 were in attendance Saturday, and Menefee touched on the environment after the game.
“[The crowd] fuels the dugout, it fuels the team,” Menefee said. “It feels really good to have the support from the fans.”
A&M sent five to the plate in the seventh against two Razorback relievers, but a lineout to left by Targac against Arkansas senior sidewinding left-hander Evan Taylor left both Rock and Moss — the potential tying runs — in scoring position.
Menefee had retired six straight Razorbacks before Lanzilli picked up his second hit of the game with a two-out single to left in the eighth. However, he was quickly erased from the basepaths, as A&M senior catcher Troy Claunch threw him out in an attempt to steal second base. Taylor was nasty in a scoreless frame with two strikeouts and one Aggie left on base.
Menefee nearly went through five innings of shutout baseball, but he was lifted with two outs in the ninth for A&M sophomore righty Wyatt Tucker after he issued a walk to Arkansas sophomore left fielder Jace Bohrofen. Tucker loaded the bases, but he got Wallace swinging to end the inning. Arkansas freshman right-hander Brady Tygart entered the game to close things out for the Razorbacks, and he picked up his sixth save of the season to secure the 3-1 victory.
Morris tossed three scoreless innings and earned the win to move to 3-0 this season, and Dallas allowed three earned runs over four innings pitched and picked up the loss to drop to 4-2 this season. Slavens and A&M sophomore first baseman Jack Moss both reached base four times, but half of those for the former featured him circling the pillows after long home runs.
Menefee was terrific out of the bullpen with seven strikeouts over four and two-thirds scoreless innings pitched, but his offense could not deliver a big hit with runners on as the Aggies failed to capitalize on auspicious opportunities by leaving a dozen on base.
“All you can ask is to put yourself in a position to win every day, that’s all you can ask, and we did that,” A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said after the game. “You have to tip your cap to Arkansas and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Arkansas moved to 31-8 on the season and 12-5 in conference play. A&M dropped to 24-14 on the season and 9-8 in conference play. The victory gives the Razorbacks a three-game lead in the SEC West.
A&M will conclude its three-game series with Arkansas at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, and the game can be viewed on SEC Network+.

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