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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

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A&M’s transfer class brings experience, fresh potential

Graduate+student+Dylan+Rock+played+for+four+years+at+UTSA+before+joining+Coach+Schlossnagle+in+College+Station+this+year.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Graduate student Dylan Rock played for four years at UTSA before joining Coach Schlossnagle in College Station this year.

A new chapter of Texas A&M baseball begins this spring with fresh faces on the roster and coaching staff.
With the hire of new head coach Jim Schlossnagle this past summer, A&M baseball has gone to work creating a very impressive coaching staff and bringing eight transfer athletes to Aggieland. Baseball America recently tabbed the Aggies with the nation’s best transfer class in 2021.
Schlossangle said he expects three playersto play big roles in the upcoming 2022 team: sophomore Arizona State transfer utility player Jack Moss, Oregon State graduate transfer catcher Troy Claunch and junior RHP Texas Tech transfer Micah Dallas. Schlossnagle also mentioned graduate Hawaii transfer infielder Kole Kaler and UTSA graduate outfielder Dylan Rock.
“Each individual transfer has their own story, and they’re at different points of their development,” Schlossnagle said. “You see a guy like Micah Dallas, Kole Kaler or Troy Claunch — those are three guys who have been super successful at their previous schools, so they have confidence. There are four or five who are for sure going to play a huge role, and then there’s others that are behind in their development.”
Dallas comes from Texas Tech, having made 41 appearances and 23 starts over four years, with a career record of 12-5. In 2019, the RHP made 13 starts en route to a College World Series appearance as the only Power Five freshman with a 7-0 record on the mound. He also earned All-America Second Team honors in 2020, was a Big 12 All-Freshman and made D1 Baseball’s Freshman All-America Second Team in 2019.
While he brings much-needed experience — and perhaps more importantly, postseason experience — Dallas said he still prioritized several areas of focus in his time with A&M pitching coach Nate Yeskie in order to improve as much as possible.
“I’ve [pitched] a lot of innings and am reliable, but there’s plenty of things that I’ve been working on with coach Yeskie,” Dallas said. “Trying to stay completely balanced and just smoothen out my [pitching] motion to make it all as efficient as possible, I’ve been working really hard at that.”
Yeskie, D1 Baseball’s 2017 Assistant Coach of the Year, will coach pitchers under the title of associate head coach with several other highly regarded assistant coaches. Hitting coach Michael Earley comes out of Arizona State, and assistant coach Nolan Cain comes from LSU as a strong recruiter.
Claunch played against Earley’s teams in the Pac-12 at Oregon State and also played in the postseason against Schlossnagle’s TCU Horned Frogs. He said he much prefers being one of Earley’s hitters to facing them.
“I had to work my way around a coach Earley lineup in the Pac-12 and figure out how to get his hitters out, so I’m excited that I only have to do that in the fall now,” Claunch said. “Now I’m one of those hitters, so that’s been pretty amazing.”
Dallas said the A&M Athletics Department did not take any half-measures with the current program staff, and he’s looking forward to soaking up the knowledge each of the coaches has to offer.
“They definitely did not go halfway on this,” Dallas said. “The athletic director put together an all-star team over here; they hit that one out of the ballpark. We have the best pitching coach in the country, and we have one of the best head coaches in the country who has proven that day-in and day-out. The amount of baseball minds that are here is something that I’m looking forward to [capitalizing] on.”
Moss, who as a freshman under the instruction of Earley at Arizona State hit .305 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 48 games, said his decision to come to College Station was greatly influenced by Earley’s hiring and that he’s the best in the business at coaching hitters.
“He’s the best hitting coach in the country for a reason. I think his track record speaks for itself,” Moss said. “When I was making my decision out of the transfer portal, I really wanted to come [to A&M]. Coach Earley coming here kind of sealed the deal.”
With such a talented coaching staff also comes new players, both freshmen and transfers alike. But in the grand scheme of things, everybody is new to everybody — “there’s no cliques,” as Dallas said.
“This has actually been a topic of conversation with a lot of people,” Dallas said. “There’s something special going on right now with the amount of chemistry that we all have right now together. Everyone’s just eager to go win some ball games. We know that the best way we can do that is to have everyone stick together.”
Claunch said the team has started to build good habits together, and is so close-knit nobody seems to want to leave the stadium after practices.
“I’m loving the culture that we’re establishing here,” Claunch said. “I love how close every guy is on this team. It kind of seems like people don’t want to leave the field, everyone wants to be here all the time.”
Claunch joins the Aggies as a career .290 hitter and was named to the Buster Posey Award Watch before last season. As a senior, he started in 55 games, hit .305 and logged 30 RBIs, earning him First-Team All-Pac-12 honors.
He has the unique challenge of embracing and working with a completely new pitching staff, he said, which has been fun and enjoyable because of how different each pitcher is.
“I’m really enjoying it. The biggest thing for me right now is just learning each individual,” Claunch said. “Learning who they are, what makes them tick and how to work with each of them — everybody’s different in their own way. Allowing them to believe in me and the fact that they know I have their back through anything — that’s been really big.”
Claunch will also be reunited with an old coach in Yeskie, who was the pitching coach for the Beavers during Claunch’s freshman and sophomore years.
“I had a really good relationship with coach Yeskie, he recruited me coming out of high school, and for my first two years at Oregon State he was our pitching coach,” Claunch said. “I’ve known him for a really long time and built a really close relationship with him, and the fact that it was able to come full circle was really awesome.”
Schlossnagle said guys like Claunch will be dependable in the lineup come SEC play because of the experience they bring, and the fact they won’t panic if something goes wrong.
“When you’re facing Troy Claunch or Dylan Rock and they have 600 college at-bats under their belt, they’re not going to be fazed by much,” Schlossnagle said.
They’ll have no time to be fazed going against the baseball gauntlet that is the SEC West, but Moss said the team is up to the challenge and that college baseball players should want to be in this position.
“It gets me fired up. The [SEC West] is where you should want to be if you’re in high school or coming from a junior college,” Moss said. “You should want to play against the best of the best.”
Claunch said it’ll be a little different for him coming from the Pac-12 in terms of fan attendance, and that he knows there won’t be any conference opponent to take lightly.
“Coming from the Pac-12, we got a pretty good draw at Oregon State fanbase-wise, but that wasn’t always the case when we’d go other places,” Claunch said. “Everywhere we go, there’s going to be a large crowd, and it’s going to be a really good team. I’m excited to play the best teams each and every weekend. There’s no weekend to take off.”
There’s no way of knowing what this team will accomplish this spring right now, but there is immense optimism surrounding Blue Bell Park because of an exciting roster with potential and a coaching staff that has only proven to be successful at every step of their career.
“The opportunities that are here at A&M are unbelievable,” Dallas said. “I’m really excited to get going with all this stuff, and I’m excited to be an Aggie.”

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