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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Brooms came out against reigning baseball champs

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Graduate OF Dylan Rock (27) sweeps off junior 3B Trevor Werner (28) during his postgame interview.

In July 2021, Mississippi State baseball celebrated a 2-1 series win over Vanderbilt in the 2021 College World Series. Meanwhile, a 29-27 Texas A&M baseball team watched from home as their SEC foes battled it out on a national stage.
Fast forward a season to Sunday, May 15, a rejuvenated No. 16 A&M baseball team, led by their new head coach Jim Schlossnagle, now sit at a record of 33-16 following a 3-0 series sweep over the 25-27 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
After taking 8-7 and 9-6 victories in the previous two games, the Aggies completed just their second series sweep of the season with an 8-2 win over Mississippi State in Game 3, the first coming early in the season against Fordham in mid-March.
“I think the most important thing to us was we had to prove to ourselves that we could win three games in a row,” Schlossnagle said. “To win a regional [or] to win a conference tournament you are going to have to do that. That was good for us. We have not swept anyone since the first weekend … so it was good for us to get that accomplishment.”
The first few innings of the matchup were quiet. A&M freshman righty Ryan Prager, who started out the game on the mound for the Aggies, pitched the first four innings and picked up three strikeouts in the process. He allowed three Bulldogs to reach base in the first three innings but managed to keep them stranded.
The first piece of scoreboard action didn’t come until the fourth inning when Prager’s pitch was singled by junior infielder Kamren James. An A&M error led the Bulldogs’ sophomore infielder Kellum Clark to base. After the unearned run, Prager closed out the top of the fourth.
The Aggies, not backing down, showed up the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth. Junior outfielder Brett Minnich singled on a 3-2 count, setting up graduate catcher Troy Claunch at the plate. Claunch advanced on base due to a fielder’s choice, but a fielding error advanced him to third and sent Minnich home. Sophomore infielder Ryan Targac singled up the middle to advance Claunch to home plate, and then sophomore infielder and pitcher Trevor Werner followed suit with a fly ball to score Targac for a 3-1 ball game.
Freshman righty Robert Hogan took charge for Prager on the mound midway through the top of the fifth for the Aggies, and he pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings, picking up a strikeout along the way.
In the bottom of the sixth frame, Targac and junior outfielder Jordan Thompson earned walks to stack first and second base just in time for graduate infielder Kole Kaler to be at bat. Kaler got another scoring run started with a single to score Targac, and Werner matched with another single to score Thompson. Graduate outfielder Dylan Rock flew out to centerfield to send Kaler home and raise the lead to 6-1.
At the top of the seventh, Prager added on one more K before giving up a single and a triple that scored Mississippi State graduate infielder RJ Yeager. Sophomore lefty Will Johnston took Hogan’s place and allowed a walk before striking out freshman infielder and outfielder Hunter Hines, stranding two Bulldogs on base.
After a scoreless bottom of the seventh for the A&M bats, Johnston pitched a quick eighth inning with two strikeouts and one ground-out in three batters. At the bottom of the inning, the Aggies got back at-bat and scored two more runs when junior infielder and outfielder Austin Bost smacked a double down the third-base line, running both Rock and sophomore infielder-outfielder Jack Moss back to home.
A groundout ended the eighth inning and Johnston got back on the mound with a chance to seal the game. The cold-blooded closer struck out consecutive batters across just seven pitches and faced Yeager with the game on the line. After Yeager forced a 3-2 count, he grounded out, ending the game and finalizing the sweep.
“Coach Yeskie was calling some good pitches. I came in and tried to do my job and execute by getting ahead in the count,” Johnston said. “As I have thrown a little bit more this past month, I have started to really gain some more confidence.”
The Aggies will close out their regular season on the road in Oxford, Miss. They take on the Ole Miss Rebels in a three-game series that starts on Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. Game 2 starts at the same time the following day, and Game 3 is at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. After that, the SEC Tournament starts on Tuesday, May 24 in Hoover, Ala., and then the NCAA Tournament begins on Friday, June 3.
“It is not the best team [that advances in the postseason], it is the team that plays the best,” Targac said. “It does not matter what you do preseason or the middle of the season, it matters what you do now and here on out. It is about getting hot at the right time, and I think we are in a good spot.”

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