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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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A&M baseball looks for change of fortune

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman LHP Shane Sdao (38) pitches from the mound during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at Olsen Field on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

The past week hasn’t been kind to the Texas A&M baseball team.

The Aggies traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee this past weekend, looking to rebound from a series loss to No. 1 LSU that began SEC play. Instead, No. 12 Tennessee trounced A&M for a sweep, setting the maroon and white back to 1-5 in the conference standings and out of the Top 25. 

To make matters worse, A&M dropped a 5-2 midweek contest at home to archrival No. 21 Texas on Tuesday, March 28, the Aggies’ first loss to the Longhorns since 2018 and first in College Station since 2011.

Well, misery loves company, as Ole Miss finds itself in a similar funk as well. The Rebels one-upped the Aggies with a 0-6 mark in SEC competition after being swept by No. 6 Vanderbilt and No. 3 Florida, but they didn’t get a chance to rebound with a midweek win, as their game versus Southern Miss was declared a no contest due to poor field conditions.

After both teams spent their offseasons reminiscing on their 2022 trips to the College World Series, one that ended in a national title for Ole Miss, they’ve come crashing back to earth. 

Junior RHP Jack Dougherty will look to start things on a high note for the Rebels as Friday’s expected starter, carrying a 2-2 record albeit with a 6.07 earned run average. On the other end, junior RHP Nathan Dettmer will take the mound, aiming to shake off poor outings versus LSU and Tennessee, where he gave up a combined 13 runs on 14 hits in 11 innings. He enters with a 1-3 mark and 5.40 ERA.

Come Saturday, Ole Miss’ freshman RHP Grayson Saunier, with a 1-2 record and 7.77 ERA, will contrast A&M’s sophomore LHP Troy Wansing’s 2-1 record and 3.80 ERA. Rounding out the series for the Rebels on Sunday will be junior RHP Xavier Rivas, boasting a 4-2 record with a 4.97 ERA. For A&M, freshman LHP Justin Lamkin will get his second weekend start since replacing sophomore RHP Chris Cortez in the rotation. His record fell to 1-2 and his ERA to 3.28 after surrendering six runs in 4.1 frames to the Volunteers last Sunday.

At 15-9 this season, Ole Miss’ strengths come at the plate with a .307 team batting average and six players hitting beyond .300. The offense runs through junior UTL Kemp Alderman, one of the top hitters in the conference with a .363 average, 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in. Junior UTL TJ McCants adds seven home runs, while senior INF Peyton Chatagnier, a Cypress native, has six.

Junior IF Jacob Gonzalez, coming off an 18 home run season, adds power to the lineup, while senior OF Ethan Groff brings speed, having succeeded on 10 of 11 stolen base attempts this season. Junior UTL Calvin Harris leads the Rebels in average at .379.

Meanwhile, the Aggies continue to struggle to match the offensive productivity that trademarked last season’s team. Junior SS Hunter Haas and junior 1B Jack Moss are bright sports with respective averages of .404 and .347, but the rest of the lineup hasn’t kept up with them. Aside from Moss, senior 2B Austin Bost leads last year’s returners with a .242 mark. Freshman OF Jace LaViolette and freshman UTL Kaeden Kent have shown upside with averages of .259 and .254, respectively, while freshman OF Kasen Wells totes a .375 on-base percentage.

This weekend carries large implications for both teams, as the winner will pick up some sorely needed wins and momentum, while the loser will likely find itself in the basement of the SEC standings. First pitch at Olsen Field on Friday, March 31, is set for 6 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s contests will begin at 7 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

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