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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M baseball to ride wave of momentum against Crimson Tide

Junior+pitcher+Micah+Dallas+%2834%29+pitches+while+sophomore+infielder%2Foutfielder+Jack+Moss+%289%29+watches+at%26%23160%3BOlsen+Field+at+Blue+Bell+Park+on+Sunday%2C+Feb.+27%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

Junior pitcher Micah Dallas (34) pitches while sophomore infielder/outfielder Jack Moss (9) watches at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.

With a somewhat unassuming record of 15-9, at first glance, one might take Texas A&M baseball’s record at face value. The team appears to be good enough to beat worse opponents, but struggles against better ones.
But, inside that win-loss record is a statistic that shows what this A&M team is about: a 3-1 record against ranked teams, coincidentally, all coming versus teams ranked No. 8.
Yet, on further inspection, another peculiar statistic appears. A&M is not only 12-8 versus unranked teams, but it has only won three of its five weekend series with 2-1 series losses against both Penn and Auburn.
For a team that went 9-7 in March, there are two sides to the coin that is Aggie baseball — it’s just never a certainty which face the coin will land on. They’ll want to continue to ride the momentum in their three-game weekend series against the Alabama Crimson Tide on April 1-3.
Fresh off a 15-9 win over in-state rival No. 8 Texas in Austin, A&M baseball is riding high. That game came just two weeks after A&M won its three-game series versus then-No. 8 LSU.
“This was a grind, and I’m very aware how good our league is,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said after Game 3 of the series on Sunday, March 20. “This was a very good team that we played this weekend. They had some great arms coming out of the bullpen and starting pitchers that really presented challenges for us.”
For the maroon and white, when the pitching has been good, the team has been good. The team has allowed less than eight hits in 10 different games, going 10-0 in such contests. The Aggies have also allowed four or fewer runs in 13 games, going 12-1.
The successes and failures on the mound have been more indicative this season of victory than the bats have. The Aggies have had five or fewer runs 13 times and gone 7-6 in those games, but for the nine games in which the Aggies combined for an ERA above 4, the team is 3-7.
One of the stars of the team has been junior right-handed pitcher, and Texas Tech transfer, Micah Dallas, who leads the Aggies in number of innings pitched. Of all A&M pitchers with more than nine innings pitched this season, Dallas has the second-best WHIP, or walks and hits per inning pitched, and third-best ERA and opposing batting average.
Pitching has been a focus for head coach Jim Schlossnagle during his new era in Aggieland, having brought on Nate Yeskie, a well-renowned pitching coach and an NCAA champion, as an associate head coach after coaching under Johnson for multiple years.
“I’m super proud of our guys [with] where we are pitching-wise to piece it together against a nationally-ranked team,” Schlossnagle said after the team’s win over Texas. Earlier in the season on Saturday, March 5, Schlossnagle shared his three recipes to success after a bout against Iowa: “Pitching, defense, timely hitting — when you get all three, you win.”
A&M’s bats haven’t been anything to scoff at, though; it’s a unit led by sophomore first baseman Jack Moss and graduate outfielder Dylan Rock. Of all Aggies with 40 or more at-bats, Moss leads the team in batting average at .393, and on-base percentage at .468. Rock leads the team in slugging percentage at .654 and homers at six.
Alabama comes into the series with a similar record, 15-11, but has struggled more with high-level competition. The Crimson Tide are 1-5 against ranked competition, having gone 0-3 against then-No. 1 Texas and being outscored 9-1 as well as having gone 1-2 against then-No. 9 Florida and being outscored 18-26.
Coming off a walk-off win versus Southern Alabama, the Crimson Tide are 3-3 in their three-game weekend series and have a 14-4 record at home.
“I am really glad to get a win tonight over a really good South Alabama team. We haven’t been great in midweeks the last few weeks — and I am not sure that we played our best tonight — but I am proud of our guys for doing enough to get a win over a good team,” Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. “We are going to take tomorrow off and get ready for Texas A&M this weekend”
Two of Alabama’s best hitters are senior outfielder Tommy Seidl and junior infielder Denton Zane. Seidl leads all players on the team with more than 40 at-bats in both batting average at .363, and on-base percentage at .434, while Zane leads the unit in slugging percentage at .583 and on-base plus slugging percentage at .953; Zane also leads the team in homers with seven.
To keep the Tide at bay, the Aggies will need smart pitching. Alabama’s team is not full of heavy hitters — at only 10th in the SEC for home runs and 12th in slugging percentage, — but the team knows how to get runners onto the field, reflected by the fourth-place mark in the SEC in on-base percentage.
The Aggies will start their series on April 1, at 6 p.m. in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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