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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M heads to College Classic in Houston still searching for offensive identity

Photo by Megan Cusick

Logan Foster, a junior from Nebraska, races to first base.

After playing 10 games in 14 days, the Texas A&M baseball team is still a work in progress, particularly at the plate.
Now the Aggies (8-2) will get a real measuring stick during their first road trip of the season this weekend, partaking in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston. A&M will face ranked foes Baylor and TCU, as well as Houston.
“It’s going to be a great tournament,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said after Wednesday’s game. “We’re playing three outstanding teams who we have a long history with. Certainly an opportunity to find out where we are playing that level of competition. We’re going to know a lot more about our team Sunday night than we know today.”
The Aggies saw ups and downs leading into this weekend after splitting mid-week contests against Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word.
A&M began to come around at the plate Tuesday, scratching 12 runs on 11 hits off the Huskies in a convincing seven-run victory. The Aggies saw their pitchers plunder early in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday, however. Junior shortstop Braden Shewmake said A&M has some fight, but the Aggies need to start playing energetic from the first pitch.
“Yeah we’ve got a lot of fight, but we didn’t bring that out until we got down 6-2,” Shewmake said after Wednesday’s loss. “It’s never too late, but at that point, you’re chasing runs and if you can bring that out in the beginning and you get up on a team, who knows what can happen.”
Left-handed pitcher John Doxakis was on the bench awaiting his Friday start against Baylor, but said Childress’ message to the team following Wednesday’s loss was simple – the performance was unacceptable. Nonetheless, Childress said he’s confident in Doxakis – the man pegged to lead the Aggies in their next game. Watching Wednesday’s game energized Doxakis, too, ahead of his most significant start of the season.
“We certainly feel good about the guy we have on the mound in our next game – John Doxakis,” Childress said. “He’s going to give us a chance.”
In his last start against Illinois-Chicago, Doxakis (2-0) was victorious, but somewhat sporadic as well, admitting he didn’t have the best command on the mound after throwing a pair of wild pitches and hitting two batters. Still, Childress said he was encouraged by Doxakis’ bullpen Tuesday. Doxakis added that Childress stepped in and focused on tightening the junior southpaw’s mechanics.
“Coach Childress has a great eye for recognizing the little things that you might be not as crisp on and are causing those things,” Doxakis said. “In our bullpen this week we focused on that, and we fine-tuned them, and we’ll be ready to go Friday.”
While Childress is pleased with Doxakis’ progress, he is even now eyeing for his batters to boost their play at the plate as the Aggies are still hitting just .242 as a team. A&M continues to make contact, but hasn’t found the barrel yet, often flying out or grounding into routine outs.
“We need to see more guys making consistent hard contact up and down the lineup and having a pitcher on their heels,” Childress said. “We don’t do that consistently right now.”
Fortunately for the Aggies, Shewmake saw his hitting game rise during the mid-week contests as A&M’s standout junior went 4-for-11 with four RBI, seeing his season average rise from .185 to .237. Shewmake said he had found his progress in improving his mental game.
“I’ve done a lot of talking to Coach Childress and the other coaches about staying relaxed and not pressing,” Shewmake said. “Don’t try to go hit the pull-side home run or anything, just stick to the big part of the field and hit line drives and stick to who you are.”
Playing at a major league ballpark could create some much-needed excitement and energy, especially given 11 players are from the Houston area, including Doxakis.
“I’m from Houston, so it’s really special to me, and we’ve got a bunch of guys from that area and a bunch of guys that love the Astros,” Doxakis said. “It’ll probably be the most premier playing surface we’ll play on all year.”
A&M will begin its long weekend in Houston Friday night against Baylor with first pitch at for 7 p.m. The Aggies will face TCU on Saturday at 7 p.m. with Sunday’s matchup against Houston slated for a 3 p.m. start. Networks will televise the games nationally.

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