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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M baseball puts together an offensive clinic, defeats South Carolina 16-4 in Game 1

No. 13 Texas A&M baseball was well-rested coming into a weekend series with South Carolina thanks to two off-days sandwiched around a midweek win over UT Arlington. As the sun set and the temperature cooled in College Station, A&M’s bats kept the heat turned up. 

With the Aggies set to play the second of an eight-game homestand on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Friday, May 6, they welcomed in a Gamecocks team riding a four-game winning streak. The maroon and white came into the three-game set having won their last four series. 

The Aggies came into Game 1 at third in the SEC West with a 28-15 record on the season and a 12-9 mark in conference play. The Gamecocks hit the road with a 23-20 record on the season and a 9-12 mark in conference play that positioned them fourth in the SEC East. 

A&M sent staff ace sophomore right-hander Nathan Dettmer to the bump, sporting a 5-2 record with a 3.13 ERA on the season — and a 4-0 record with a 1.39 ERA in his last five starts. South Carolina junior right-hander Brett Thomas made only his fourth start of the season, as he took the hill with a 0-0 record and a 6.39 ERA on the season. 

The Gamecocks brought six batters to the plate in the top of the first inning against Dettmer. Senior left fielder Brandt Belk, senior first baseman Kevin Madden and senior designated hitter Josiah Sightler each collected singles to give the road team an early 1-0 lead. South Carolina senior right fielder Andrew Eyster — the team leader in RBIs with 42 — smoked a line drive to A&M senior shortstop Kole Kaler, who then threw to second for a 6-4 double play. Dettmer limited the damage to just one run in the first with a groundout to Kaler to end the threat. 

The Aggies responded in the bottom of the first with three hits of their own by senior designated hitter Dylan Rock, sophomore first baseman Jack Moss and junior right fielder Brett Minnich. Minnich laced a two-out RBI double to right to bring home Rock and tie the game at one apiece. The Aggies also brought six batters to the plate in the first but left two in scoring position. 

South Carolina had the first two batters reach in the third, but Dettmer grabbed two outs with a 4-6-3 double play against Sightler. An error by A&M sophomore third baseman Trevor Werner allowed the Gamecocks to retake the lead, as Belk scored from third. Thomas issued back-to-back walks to start the third before his defense turned a 4-6-3 triple play on a line drive off the bat of Moss. 

A&M ended Thomas’ night in a fourth inning in which it sent the entire lineup to the plate. A&M sophomore second baseman Ryan Targac tied Rock for the team lead in RBIs with his 38th on a run-scoring single that scored Minnich and knotted up the game at two. An RBI groundout by Werner gave the Aggies their first lead of the night, 3-2. 

Rock regained the team lead in RBIs by working a two-out, bases-loaded walk that plated Targac and gave A&M a 4-2 lead. The maroon and white stole four bases in the fourth against new Gamecocks senior lefty John Gilreath, who also walked two, hit a batter and allowed both inherited runners to score along with one of his own in a three-run frame for the Aggies. 

The Gamecocks knocked out Dettmer after 4.2 innings thanks to a two-out RBI single by Eyster in the fifth to make it a one-run game. A&M junior left-hander Joseph “Moo” Menefee came out of the bullpen and ended the inning with a strikeout. 

A&M junior left fielder Austin Bost crushed a home run to left to give the Aggies a 5-3 lead in the fifth. Minnich flew around the bases from first to score on a bunt by A&M senior catcher Troy Clauch and a South Carolina error to make it a 6-3 A&M lead. Targac then emphatically took back the team RBI lead with a towering two-run bomb over the scoreboard to put the Aggies up 8-3. 

The Aggies tacked on two more runs in the sixth with an opposite-field two-run homer by Moss. It was the third consecutive inning with a crooked number for A&M, and it put them in double figures with a 10-3 lead. 

Eyster picked up his second RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly that drove home Madden in the seventh. A&M went down in order to lead 10-4 after seven innings of play. 

The Aggies doubled their lead with a six-run eighth that featured Bost’s second homer of the night, an RBI for Werner on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and a grand slam for A&M junior center fielder Jordan Thompson — his first home run of the season. All six runs were scored with two outs, as the maroon and white refused to give away at-bats. 

“Hitting is contagious, especially with this team,” Bost said after the game. “From top to bottom, everybody is a great hitter. The hits don’t stop and the runs don’t stop, and that’s gonna carry us — especially with the good pitching we’ve been showing.” 

A&M freshman right-hander Jack Hamilton pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the 16-4 win. The Aggies scored 16 runs on 12 hits and 10 walks. They also mashed five home runs, stole five bases and were plunked by Gamecock pitching three times. 

“There’s different ways to have good team offense,” A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We know we can score runs when we get hits and extra-base hits, but a good offense is able to score in a variety of ways.” 

Five Aggies racked up multiple hits, Bost had a multi-homer game and Rock tied a school record for walks in a single game with five, as he and Minnich reached base in every plate appearance. 

Menefee picked up the win behind 3.1 innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts to move to 3-2 on the season. He also walked five Gamecocks in a roller coaster outing. Thomas gave up three earned runs over 3.1 innings and was charged with the loss to drop to 0-1 on the season. 
Despite the dominant victory, Schlossnagle recognized postgame that his squad has struggled in the second games of series, so he wants them to get ready for Saturday. 

“We have our work cut out for us,” Schlossnagle said. “We have to flush this game real quick.” 

A&M will battle South Carolina again in Game 2 of the series on Saturday, May 7, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The game can be viewed on SEC Network+. 

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