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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 upsets Vanderbilt to tie weekend series

Photo by Annie Lui

Senior third baseman Jonathan Ducoff made one assist and two putouts. 

No. 22 Texas A&M senior outfielder and first baseman Jonathan Ducoff hit a single RBI into left field in the ninth inning to complete a five-run comeback to knock-off No. 2 Vanderbilt Saturday at Blue Bell Park, 8-7.
The Aggies (16-5, 1-1 SEC) tied the series with the Commodores (15-4, 1-1 SEC) after dropping the opener on Friday night 7-4.
A&M starting pitcher Asa Lacy came out to a hot start to the game, retiring three straight batters in each of the first three innings. The sophomore pitcher stayed hitless through four innings until Vanderbilt’s Pat DeMarco doubled, followed by a walk and then a three-run homer down the right field line to open up scoring 3-0 in the Commodores’ favor.
Lacy returned to the dugout after allowing the home run, A&M head coach Rob Childress sent Chandler Jozwiak to the mound for the next three innings.
The Aggies came up empty from the plate in the fifth, but Vanderbilt continued to find hits from Paul. In the inning after the home run Paul hit a single 2 RBI into left field with the bases loaded, bringing the lead to 5-0.
However A&M would start to make a comeback in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs from freshman infielder Ty Coleman and junior catcher Mikey Hoehner to make it 5-2 going into the seventh inning.
Vanderbilt continued its scoring streak with a 2-run homer from sophomore Austin Martin to extend the lead back to five in the top of the seventh. A&M would come up short again in the bottom of the seventh.
After getting a critical defensive stop in the top of the eighth inning in the first four batters, A&M took the initiative in the bottom of the eighth beginning with a single 2 RBI from Ducoff that cut the lead to 7-4 with two outs left. Junior outfielder Cam Blake then hit a triple 3 RBI past a diving Vanderbilt defender to tie the contest up at seven.
“I was just trying to put my best swing on the ball,” Blake said. “My teammates got on base in front of me, just trying to do whatever I can to get a run across.”
Closing pitcher Kasey Kalich came in at the top of the ninth and loaded the bases with only one out, but came back to strike the last two Vanderbilt batters out to end the top of the ninth still tied up at 7-7.
“It was amazing,” Kalich said on the final strikeout of the ninth inning. “Knowing that [the strikeout] pulled a lot of momentum our way and allowing our hitters to get in that mindset of ‘yeah we’re about to get this done’.”
In the bottom of the ninth Vanderbilt pitcher Zach King allowed Ty Coleman to single to left-center field for the first at-bat, followed by a sacrifice bunt by catcher Hunter Coleman to advance him to second.
Outfielder Ty Condel reached on fielder’s choice at the next at bat that caught Coleman at third but got Condel to second base. Ducoff followed Condel at the plate and hit the final RBI with a single into left field that allowed Condel to advance over home plate to end the game, 8-7.
“I’m just trying to do something to help us win,” Ducoff said. “Our team was really, really resilient today. Vanderbilt came out and punched us in the mouth and coming back from 7-2 against a great ball club, it meant a lot.”
Lacy finished with six strikeouts, six hits and five earned runs in five innings pitched on Saturday afternoon, while Vanderbilt starting pitcher Patrick Raby finished with 2 strikeouts, three hits and three walks in five innings.
Paul led the Commodores offensively with a two hits that included a three-run homer and 5 RBI’s. Ducoff came in as a pinch-hitter for right fielder Zach DeLoach and hit the best for the Aggies with two hits that resulted in three RBI’s, including the game-winner.
“The opportunities we’ve had thus far this year we’ve gotten to the door an awful lot,” Childress said. “We just haven’t kicked it in late in some games and we were able to do that today and once you do it, it’s a good feeling that we’ll be able to draw off of that for a while.”
The Aggies will complete the three-game series against Vanderbilt on Sunday at Blue Bell Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network +.

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