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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 plays host to No. 11 Ole Miss

Photo by Megan Cusick

The Texas A&M baseball team will host their last home series of the season beginning on Friday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. against the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels. 

After being swept by Mississippi State last weekend and beating UT-Arlington 8-4 on Tuesday at Globe Life Park, Texas A&M baseball has just nine games remaining in the regular season with six scheduled at home. Three of those will take place this weekend against the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels, who rank third in the SEC West and are 13-8 in conference play.
Ole Miss’s projected starter for Game 1 appears to be junior Gunnar Hoglund, a 2018 first round draft pick and 2021 Preseason All-American. The righty last pitched against No. 7 South Carolina and struck out nine in six perfect innings, save for one hit. He sports a 2.73 ERA in the 56 innings he’s pitched with 87 total punchouts.
A&M coach Rob Childress said the Rebels are an all-around solid team that doesn’t show many weaknesses.
“Ole Miss is a very complete team,” Childress said. “They have two outstanding starting pitchers in Hoglund and [Doug] Nikhazy, so we’re going to have to do a great job of getting to their bullpen as quick as we can.”
One of the main issues the A&M pitching staff has had in conference play this season is giving up too many free bags via hit batter, walks, etc. Childress said that is something he talked with the staff about this week and that they have the ability to improve their strikeout-to-walk ratio since they did just that in nonconference.
“We can give up a couple hits an inning and still avoid a crooked number. It’s the walk, the hit batter and a double that ends up being the crooked number,” Childress said. “We’re not asking the pitching staff to do something they haven’t done — [give up less free bases] — or [isn’t] capable of, it’s about getting back to that here in these last nine games.”
Senior Chandler Jozwiak, who has walked only two batters in his last 9.1 innings, said the staff’s free bases issue may be due to pitchers trying too hard to be precise with their pitches.
“We had a pretty long talk as a pitching staff before leaving for Tuesday’s game about that, and obviously, our numbers against nonconference teams are way better than against conference teams,” said Jozwiak. “I think some guys try to be too perfect or picky with their pitches instead of really attacking and just throwing the ball over the plate.”
The Aggies had 12 different players record a plate appearance in Tuesday’s win over UT-Arlington, a trend Childress said to expect to continue the rest of this season as many guys are itching to show their abilities.
“I would certainly say so,” Childress said when asked if there would be any lineup changes for this series. “We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, so there’ll be some different things you’ll see this weekend.”
Austin Bost said the roster has a great amount of depth, and if different guys get benched or penciled in the starting lineup, they have to do what they can to help the team win.
“We have so many guys and we’re so deep, pitching and hitting,” Bost said. “You just have to go out there and ball every single day, and whenever your name is called, you have to be ready to go in there and do a job to help the team win.”
The three-game set against the Rebels starts Friday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. in Blue Bell Park on SEC Network+. Games 2 and 3 will be broadcasted on ESPN U with the second set to start at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the third at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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