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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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Cats and dogs: rain and a chase

Photos A Nguyen

Texas A&M baseball players do the war hymn after winning over Prairie View A&M at Olsen Field on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

Game 1:
The Texas A&M Aggies would conquer the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats in their first game of the doubleheader this Saturday, April 22. The Fightin’ Farmers came into Lexington, Kentucky determined and focused. The final score on the day saw the Aggies victorious 6-3.
Kentucky came into this series v.s. A&M with a record of 29 wins and only eight losses. Meanwhile, the Aggies have not had quite the same hot start with a record of just 24 wins and 14 losses.
The Aggies have been on the winning end of things lately with a strong showing against midweek enemy Prairie View A&M. However, Kentucky has been playing at a very high level and hope to prove to everyone around the country they are a real force to be reckoned with in the world of college baseball.
It was announced beforehand that A&M’s junior RHP Nathan Dettmer would be starting the first of today’s games. The Aggies would need their pitching ace to give them a strong start if they wanted to kick off this series on a strong note.
Dettmer would give it his all but only managed to last two innings before being pulled by coach Jim Schlossnagle. While on duty, Dettmer would only give up one run to the Wildcats.
The blue and white would grab an early lead when, in the bottom of the second inning, senior SS Grant Smith would hit a sacrifice bunt down the first base line. Senior C Chase Stanke would be the Wildcat to run across home plate and push Kentucky ahead early.
The maroon and white would soon flip the momentum come top of the third inning. Senior RF Brett Minnich hit an absolute laser right over the center field wall. With two men on base, the score now read 3-1 in favor of the Aggies. This homerun killed the energy the home crowd was bringing and really gave A&M the advantage it needed.
The Aggies would keep piling on as the game carried on. At the top of the fifth inning, freshmen LF Jace LaViolette got an RBI single to make it 4-1 for A&M. The maroon and white were not done scoring though because later that same inning junior DH Ryan Targac hit a fielder’s choice single to earn another RBI. This gave the maroon and white a 5-1 lead and firmly in charge of the higher-ranked Wildcats.
Kentucky was not done for the day either though. The bottom of the fifth inning saw the Wildcats’ senior 3B Jace Felker bomb a sacrifice fly on the way to right field. Sophomore 2B Émilien Pitre would be the Wildcat to run over home plate inching them ever closer to the Aggies. The score was now 5-2.
The Wildcats would look to get even closer when in the bottom of the seventh inning sophomore DH Nolan McCarthy hit a beaming RBI double to center field. The Wildcats were now down just 5-3. However, they would need to pick up the pace if they hoped to defend their No. 13 ranking to the visiting Aggies.
The Wildcats would not prevail on the day. In fact, A&M would pile on an extra run for the maroon and white. Laviolette would hit into a double play in the top of the ninth but he did earn an RBI in the process. There would be no more runs on the day and the Aggies would claim the first game of the day.
Earning the win on the day for the maroon and white was junior LHP Evan Aschenbeck. Aschenbeck had an excellent performance on the day with 4.1 innings pitched while only allowing 2 runs. He handed Kentucky’s senior RHP Ryder Giles the loss.
Game 2:
After securing the first game of the series, A&M would have to ready its bats once again only 45 minutes later. Entering the weekend, the Aggies had yet to set the Game 2 and Game 3 starting pitchers. Sophomore LHP Troy Wansing would get the start for the second game of the doubleheader.
The mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers in Lexington, Kentucky, thinned out the previously rowdy Wildcat crowd. However, Kentucky graduate LHP Tyler Bosma was unfazed, hurling a 1-2-3 inning to start the game.
Pitre caused trouble for the Aggies in Game 1 and didn’t let up in Game 2, hitting a double at his first at bat against Wansing. A&M managed to hang on coming out of the inning clean with Kentucky leaving Pitre on base.
After going 0-4 in Game 1, senior CF Jordan Thompson slammed his first pitch at-bat to left field for a three-run home run. Putting the Aggies once again up 3-0 after the top of the second inning. The rain came pouring down as the Wildcats stepped up for the bottom of the second causing a double rainbow to arc over the field. A missed grounder to junior SS Hunter Haas allowed an RBI single for Kentucky and a cut into A&M’s lead. A squeeze bunt by the Wildcats got a second run home but a cross body throw on the run from junior 3B Trevor Werner prevented another runner on base. At the end of the second inning, only one run kept the Aggies ahead.
The third and fourth inning were scoreless on both sides of the ball. Both A&M and Kentucky’s defense and pitching staff stepped up to keep the bases clean. In the fifth, junior C Hank Bard was walked to first to get an Aggie on base, but he was stranded as neither Haas nor junior 1B Jack Moss could provide any momentum.
Kentucky senior SS Grant Smith rounded home off a double of his own followed by another double from redshirt sophomore C Devin Burkes and tying up the game. Wansing scraped his way out of the fifth without any further damage to the maroon and white.
Smith continued to be a thorn in the side of the Aggies, picking Werner off base in the sixth. Wild pitch from Wansing gets passed Bard allowing the runner at second to advance to third for the Wildcats. Immediately after, Kentucky junior DH Reuben Church slammed a homer to bring home two runs and put the blue and white up by two. A throw from Werner got the Fightin’ Farmers out of the inning but the Wildcats already boosted five unanswered runs.
Into the seventh inning, the Aggies found their groove. Thompson gets on base and Bard is walked to put the tying runs on base. Haas stepped up and shot an RBI single to right field that allowed Thompson round the bases, sliding home through the legs of the Kentucky catcher. The Wildcats decided to intentionally walk Moss to load the bases. Werner went to a full count on his at-bat and was walked to tie the game at five runs. A wild pitch opened the door for Haas to slide home and put A&M back in the lead.
The sixth inning continued to stun, as Kentucky intentionally walked Minnich on a 3-0 count to bring up senior 2B Austin Bost as the ninth batter of the inning. However, the Wildcats got their heads in the game, striking out Bost and ending the inning.
The Kentucky runner on first in the bottom of the seventh took off to steal second and a throwing error from Bard put the blue and white’s tying run at third. Pitre swiped second on a steal to put two in scoring position for the Wildcats and a pop up that fell in shallow center got both runners home. The seventh inning dragged on through two Aggie pitchers until freshman LHP Shane Sdao was brought in and closed the inning.
The eighth inning proved fruitless for both A&M and Kentucky. The Aggies entered the ninth, needing one run to tie and two to ensure a bottom of the inning. Moss got a double down the left field line to put the tying run in scoring position once again. With two outs, Minnich took two balls before the Wildcats intentionally walked him. Bost stepped up and slammed a double to right-center field to get both runners home and steal the lead.
Kentucky dug its way out, but needed two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game and end the back and forth chase. Pitre got his third hit of the night with a grounder that popped into left field. However, A&M held strong as junior LHP Will Johnston struck out two batters back to back and left the tying run stranded.
The win marks the fourth-straight series win for the maroon and white and their second win against a ranked opponent. The third and final game of the series is set for Sunday, April 23, at 1 p.m.

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