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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 BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M drops nail-biting first game to Auburn

Auburn+1+recap
Photo by Abbey Santoro
Auburn 1 recap

After taking two of three against then-No. 12 Ole Miss a weekend ago, the Aggies began their last road series of the regular season on Friday night at Plainsman Park against the 20-24 Auburn Tigers who entered losers in their last four with a cold offense. They have averaged just three runs a game over that stretch while Texas A&M has nearly put up nine runs per game in that same span.
The stage was set for Dustin Saenz to make his 13th start of the year against lefty Jack Owen who has given up at least two earned runs per game and 35 total hits in his last five starts. Saenz has struggled as well recently, but got great run support in his win against Ole Miss despite allowing six earned runs, a trend the offense hoped to continue into this weekend.
Auburn’s offense got a jumpstart with a two-out solo shot in the top of the first, but Kalae Harrison quickly got that run back and evened things up in the second with a sac fly to score Mikey Hoehner.
Both teams picked up where they left off as the Aggies struck next with a two-run shot into left center by Taylor Smith, his sixth round-tripper of the year, to make it a 3-1 game. But the extra base hits kept coming with Auburn’s second solo-shot, and a run-scoring double over the next two frames which tied up the score at three.
All of a sudden each team’s pitching staff minimized damage after the fourth inning until the seventh when Auburn strung several quality at-bats together to scrape across a go-ahead sac fly with one out to grab a 4-3 lead with the eighth frame getting underway.
Saenz exited the game after throwing six innings and allowing four runs and five hits while striking out six Tigers. Chandler Jozwiak took over for him to start the seventh when Auburn scored their fourth run.
Then in the eighth, Jozwiak walked home Auburn’s fifth run with two outs to give the Tigers a two-run lead as the ninth frame began.
After Auburn’s Carson Skipper got the first two outs, A&M’s Ray Alejo blasted his third home run to cut the lead to one, but Logan Britt grounded out to the shortstop to end the game as Auburn took game one of the series by a final score of 5-4.
Alejo was A&M’s top performer on offense after a 3-of-5, HR, RBI outing on Friday night for his 17th multi-hit game of the season. With the loss the Aggies fell to 27-24 (7-18 SEC) on the year with the Tigers improving to 21-24 (7-18 SEC).
Game 2 of the series will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. with game three on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be watched on SEC Network+ before the Aggies host LSU in the final home series of the 2021 season next weekend.

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