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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 overcomes struggles in exhibition against Lamar

Texas+A%26amp%3BM+baseball+will+host+Fordham+University+for+its+first+official+game+of+the+2022+season+on+Feb.+18.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Texas A&M baseball will host Fordham University for its first official game of the 2022 season on Feb. 18.

A new era is dawning in Olsen Field.
As the 2021 baseball season concluded with A&M missing postseason play for the first time in 15 years and having its first losing record in that span, the ways of former coach Rob Childress were released in favor of something new for the Aggies.
Texas A&M first year baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle hosted his second game at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park as the A&M baseball team played Lamar in a 12-inning exhibition match on Friday, Oct. 22.
By a glance at the stat sheet in which the Aggies’ pitching staff gave up 10 free bases and the lineup struck out 14 times, the game’s score may not seem as clear-cut as it was. A&M, through the work of reliable fielding and opportune hitting, held Lamar scoreless for nine innings en route to a 7-2 win.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ryan Prager started the game for the Aggies and set the precedent for the events to come on the mound, giving up one hit and walking two batters through 2.0 innings pitched.
“Giving as many free bases as we gave tonight as a pitching staff is certainly not ideal,” Schlossnagle said. “But it’s also about just making pitches. Guys made some pitches, we turned a couple of double plays, made some nice plays in the field. You can’t dwell on it, you have to move on to the next pitch and pitch your way out of it. That’s certainly not the way we want to live.”
A&M’s bats started scoring quickly as sophomore first baseman Jack Moss, a transfer from Arizona State, hit an RBI double to score sophomore shortstop Kalae Harrison in the bottom of the first. Moss batted 2 for 3 with two walks and a stolen base on the night.
The offense, despite capitalizing on baserunners well, struggled mightily at the plate through the first six innings, striking out 11 times. Schlossnagle said while some credit belongs to Lamar’s pitching staff, the Aggies’ lineup is still improving.
“Their guys threw some good breaking balls,” Schlossnagle said. “There’s no question [the strikeouts] are a big concern.”
While the offensive production from A&M was slow, it was steady. The team posted seven runs spread across five innings, and senior right fielder Brett Minnich was the only Aggie with a home run on the night. With his solo shot to right field in the bottom of the fourth, the maroon and white’s lead grew to 3-0. Minnich was 1 of 4 in his at-bats and was walked twice, scoring in the bottom of the second on the first instance.
“I just think we have a new identity. We’re still figuring that out, but I would say it’s definitely different than it was last year,” Minnich said. “[We’re] just figuring out that identity and going toward what we’re working for, which is a national championship.”
In the top of the tenth inning as A&M held a 5-0 lead, sophomore pitcher Wyatt Tucker had a tough time. Tucker started off the inning by hitting a batter, giving up a hit and then a walk, loading the bases. On a wild pitch, a run scored and a walk would drive in another.
The Aggies stopped the bleeding there and managed to get out of the inning with Lamar’s only two runs of the night. Schlossnagle said the pitching showcased on the night was reflective of training camp.
“The guys that threw strikes are the ones that have thrown the most strikes, and the ones that didn’t, they’re the ones that have been pretty consistently inconsistent,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s what we have to get better at. Some guys pitched for the first time in this environment. We’re improved, but we still have a long way to go.”
The maroon and white pitching staff rotated arms frequently and displayed seven pitchers, none of whom stayed on the mound for more than two innings. Freshman right-handed pitcher Will Maynard closed the games’ final two innings with four strikeouts — the most of A&M’s pitchers — while allowing no hits.
Minnich, who spent his junior year playing for Childress, said the new coaching under Schlossnagle focuses heavily on the mental aspect of baseball.
“He’s just brought a lot of positivity, a lot of mental performance stuff that we do,” Minnich said. “Staying in routine, thinking about the positives, being where your feet are, being in the present moment. He’s really big on that stuff, so that helps you when you’re in front of a crowd like this [to] just calm down and get the nerves out.”
With the two scheduled exhibitions concluded, A&M will officially open its season on Feb. 18, 2022, with a three-game series against Fordham before hosting Lamar again on Feb. 22.
“I think we’re a bit away [from where we want to be]. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Minnich said. “Obviously, it’s a good night just to get out on the field and play someone other than ourselves. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m happy to see where this team is come Feb. 18.”

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