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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 wins second game against Mississippi State with historic performance from LaViolette

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Photo by Ishika Samant

Freshman OF Jace LaViolette (17) gets pushed in a cart after a home run during the 8th inning during a game vs. Alabama on Friday, May 12, 2023 at Blue Bell Park.

A hat trick of home runs from freshman RF Jace LaViolette helped lead Texas A&M baseball to its first win in the final regular season series before the postseason.
A&M resumed play against Mississippi State on Friday, May 19, at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Mississippi, after losing to the Bulldogs in the previous bout 10-8. That matchup ended in a walk-off home run and started the series off with a loss for the Aggies.
The Aggies took the game into their hands first with a quick 2-run home run in the top of the first inning. Junior 1B Jack Moss reached base on a single to left field, then LaViolette blasted a pitch beyond left field.
The Bulldogs were quick to respond, starting with a single to left field by junior CF Colten Ledbetter before freshman LHP Justin Lamkin walked sophomore DH Hunter Hines. Another single from freshman LF Dakota Jordan would load the bases, and the next batter was walked by Lamkin, giving up the first run to Mississippi State.
The scoring from the Bulldogs continued with a sacrifice fly by senior 1B Luke Hancock that sent Hines home to tie the game at 2 going into the second inning.
After an exciting first inning, the bases were left untouched until the top of the third when Moss led off with a deep fly into right field for a double. Junior 3B Trevor Werner then flew into a double play as Moss ran for third on a play that had to be reviewed for the tag at third base.
After hearing the call, the Aggies did not fret, as LaViolette continued his dominance with another missile shot past right field for a home run, putting A&M up 3-2. It marked his 17th homer of the season, tying the Aggies’ all-time freshman record.
In the bottom of the third inning, Lamkin earned his next three strikeouts in quick succession. Then the next inning tallied with another two, bringing in a total of seven during his time on the mound.
An offensive drought that lasted for three innings was broken by junior SS Hunter Haas in the seventh inning, who reached first on an error by sophomore 3B Slate Alford. After two walks by freshman LHP Brock Tapper, the bases were loaded for A&M with a red-hot LaViolette up to bat. However, the freshman couldn’t send any more Aggies home after a deep flyout to right field ended the top of the inning.
The Bulldogs responded with a double to right field by freshman C Ross Highfill, then freshman SS David Mershon followed up with a single up the middle, pushing Highfill home for the tie.
In the top of the eighth inning, Mississippi State switched pitchers from Tapper to junior RHP Aaron Nixon, who struck out the leadoff batter, senior CF Jordan Thompson. Nixon would go on to walk the next two batters, senior 2B Austin Bost and junior LF Ryan Targac, but freshman C Max Kaufer ended the Aggie offensive push with a groundout to shortstop.
The Bulldogs looked to take the lead as Alford managed a triple almost on the right field line before Hancock was walked. Highfill singled through the right side, pushing Hancock in for the score and the lead.
With A&M down 4-3 going into the top of the ninth, the Fightin’ Farmers were not going down without a fight. After a Haas flyout, Moss laced a single to left field, then Werner followed with a single of his own down the right side.
LaViolette then slammed his third home run of the historic night, a 3-run blast that brought the Aggies back into the lead, 6-4, going into the bottom of the ninth.
The game ended 6-4 after a final offensive push by Mississippi State was foiled by junior LHP Evan Aschenbeck.
“Real proud of the way our guys hung in there, and obviously getting Jace to the plate in the ninth inning was a big deal,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “He’s a very unique player, we need more like him. We’ve all seen his growth throughout the course of the season and now he’s playing his best baseball.”
Next for A&M baseball is the final game of the regular season versus Mississippi State at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at Dudy Noble Field.

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