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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’s patience pays off in 9-3 win over USC

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  • The Aggies and Trojans stand for the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M outfielder Caden Sorrell (13) standing for the National Anthem during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M outfielder Braden Montgomery (6) swings during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M pitcher Josh Stewart (34) focusing on the play during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) reacts after hitting a double during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M infielder Ryan Targac (12) runs to second during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M outfielder Hayden Schott (5) preparing to bat during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) reacts after hitting a home run during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) smiling after a home run during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle reacts during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M infielder Ali Camarillo (2) catches a pop fly during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M infielder Kaeden Kent (3) holds a cap and a glove during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M pitcher Luke Jackson (44) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Aggie fans chant “ball 5” during Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • Fans saw varsity’s horns off after Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

  • The Aggies singing the war hymn after Texas A&M’s game against USC on Saturday, March. 2, 2024 at Globe Life Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

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The Texas A&M baseball team can beat its opponents in a lot of ways, whether it be through its hitting or pitching. Other times, the Aggies let their opponents beat themselves.

USC was the victim of such on Saturday, March 2, as A&M took advantage of 10 walks, a hit batter and a balk to take down the Trojans 9-3 at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

Between the free passes, the Aggies’ bats filled in the gaps with 12 hits, featuring four players with multi-hit performances. Junior RF Braden Montgomery paced A&M at the plate with a 3-for-6 performance, bringing in two runs while scoring three of his own.

“We never really got the big hit to break the game open, but we were steady, and that’s good,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We’re all used to those big swings, and we’re going to need those big swings. A couple of those balls we just missed.”

Montgomery’s single kick-started a seventh inning in which the Aggies picked up two insurance runs that bolstered their lead. Graduate LF Hayden Schott followed with a single of his own before USC’s pitchers started to do themselves no favors.

The home of the Texas Rangers turned into Olsen Field North as senior DH Ted Burton drew a four-pitch walk, eliciting a “Ball 5” chant from the A&M faithful in attendance and loading the bases. Sophomore RHP Brock Blatter raised the chant to “Ball 7” with two more pitches that missed before committing a balk that plated Montgomery.

The jeers escalated to “Ball 9,” with the only two batters Blatter faced working four-pitch walks. Senior 2B Ryan Targac added the inning’s second run with an RBI sacrifice fly that upped the lead to 5-2. The Trojans continued to issue free passes into the eighth inning, when the second of back-to-back four-pitch walks brought Montgomery home.

After USC plated the game’s first run with an RBI double in the second inning, A&M capitalized on hiccups by the Trojans’ pitching staff to grab the lead in the fifth. Junior SS Ali Camarillo wore a pitch to begin the frame, then freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac drew a walk to put two runners on.

Montgomery then put the ball where the fielders weren’t, depositing a single to left field to bring Camarillo home. Two batters later, Grahovac crossed the plate on Burton’s RBI single. Senior C Jackson Appel got in on the fun with an RBI base hit of his own, putting the Aggies ahead, 3-1.

“It’s good for us to be in those moments, because we’re going to be in them a lot in our conference,” Schlossnagle said. “When you’re used to scoring and you have opportunities and no one gets the big hit, you can feel some tension in the dugout. That’s the challenge. This game is really hard.”

A&M earned a solid performance out of junior RHP Tanner Jones in his second outing of the season as he bounces back from injury. Through three innings, the Jacksonville State transfer allowed the lone run on a hit, a walk and two hit batters with three strikeouts.

Despite the A&M lineup’s slow start offensively, it could rest easy with an efficient effort out of the bullpen, particularly amongst its middle relievers in freshman Weston Moss and junior Josh Stewart.

“Coach Max [Weiner] has done such a great job with [Stewart],” Schlossnagle said. “Building his confidence and showing that he has some special weapons that he can utilize, and that gives him the confidence to go out there and pitch, and he’s performed well.”

The duo combined for just one run over five frames, allowing three hits and three strikeouts each. Moss walked away with the second win of his career.

“Weston Moss, to me, was the story of the game,” Schlossnagle said. “A freshman in this environment, to come in, throw strikes, make pitches.”

On the other hand, USC cycled through seven total pitchers as its bullpen surrendered six runs over 4.1 frames on seven hits and seven walks. A&M succeeded in its gameplan of working deep into at-bats to raise opposing pitch counts.

“That’s just kind of who we are,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s the basis of our offense, to swing at strikes and take balls and not panic about strikeouts. Those things are going to happen, but when we put good swings on our pitch, then most of the time we’ll have really good results.”

The Aggies put their bats to work down the stretch with an RBI triple from sophomore CF Jace LaViolette before he came home on Montgomery’s third single. Grahovac closed it out with a solo shot over the left field wall on a full count.

The Maroon and White look for a sweep of the Kubota College Baseball Series with a rematch against Arizona State on Sunday, March 3 at 11 a.m. Sophomore LHP Justin Lamkin is slated to toe the rubber for his third start.

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Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a junior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
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