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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Chomped: Aggies drop Game 1 to Gators

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior 1B Jack Moss (9) sits in the dugout after Texas A&M’s loss to Florida at Olsen Field on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Someone forgot to tell both teams that the Home Run Derby isn’t for a few more months.
After two consecutive road series — which included getting swept by No. 6 Arkansas — the Aggies rolled back into Blue Bell Park with no time to stop and lick their wounds.
Texas A&M baseball gave the No. 4 Florida Gators all they could in Game 1 of the series, but the home run onslaught from Florida proved too much for the Aggies to overcome.
Sophomore LHP Troy Wansing started the series last Thursday, but junior RHP Nathan Dettmer was inserted back into his Game 1 starter role against the Gators.
The San Antonio native worked a clean first frame, but Florida was not held down for long. In the top of the second, Florida junior INF Josh Rivera hit a double to right-center field to start the inning and then immediately took third on a wild pitch the next at-bat.
That all proved to be irrelevant, as Florida senior C BT Riopelle hit a deep fly ball to right field that, at first, appeared to be robbed by freshman RF Kasen Wells. After a few still moments, the first-base umpire signaled home run, and Gators went up 2-0.
Wells got the starting spot after senior RF Brett Minnich sustained an injury this past week.
“He can’t play,” Schlossnagle said. “Separated shoulder, he’s really, really sore. We think he might be able to get back to us at some point to hit, but he’s not ready to do that.”
Florida tacked on another run in the third after sophomore 1B Jac Caglianone grounded out to drive in freshman INF Cade Kurland.
Caglianone came into this series leading the nation in home runs with 26 and tied for sixth in runs batted in with 67. Despite these numbers, the Tampa native did not register a hit in the game, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
“[Caglianone] just missed a couple of balls, he’s a really good hitter,” Schlossnagle said. “Good pitches get good hitters out every day, but the key is that the really good hitters hit the bad pitches and make you pay for it. He’s that kind of hitter. You certainly know when he’s coming up in the batting order.”
The Gators continued to pour it on in the fourth, as a fly ball to left field that freshman LF Jace LaViolette had to dive for drove in Riopelle off the bat of junior INF Tyler Shelnut.
The response for A&M finally came in the bottom of the fourth. Leading off the inning, LaViolette blasted a towering shot 447 feet to the top of the scoreboard to put the Aggies in the run column.
The answers kept coming for A&M in the next inning. Wells grounded out to start the inning, but freshman C Max Kaufer singled to left field to put a runner on. Junior SS Hunter Haas dropped a long single into deep left field that the runners could not advance on due to the hit’s long hangtime.
Junior 1B Jack Moss could not capitalize on the runner in scoring position, flying out to bring junior 3B Trevor Werner to the plate with two outs. The Houston native delivered in the biggest way possible, showing up LaViolette’s home run by sending a moonshot over the scoreboard in left field to tie the game at four.
“The guy had good stuff, Friday guy,” Werner said. “He just flipped a curveball up there and I just saw it pop, put a good swing on it.”
After going five full innings of work, Dettmer was relieved by junior LHP Brandyn Garcia to start the sixth inning. The right-hander surrendered four earned runs on five hits while striking out three.
“A lot better [today] than the season’s been going, it’s been frustrating,” Dettmer said. “Fastball command was there, I think that was really the difference maker. Sinker was working in there, just beating it into the ground. So, I felt really good about that.”
The bubbles lingering from the last inning swiftly popped, with Riopelle crushing his second home run of the game to almost the exact position of his first, breaking the tie and putting the Gators back in front.
In response to the response, the Aggies tied it up once more in the bottom of the sixth. Junior 2B Ryan Targac got on base with a one out single and senior CF Jordan Thompson drew a walk, putting a runner on first and second.
Junior UTL Travis Chestnut came in to pinch hit for Wells and hit a chopper to Rivera that should have ended the inning on a double play. Instead, the ball squirted through his glove, allowing Targac to score to tie the game at five all.
In the end, Florida ended up having the last laugh. With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Kurland hit a ball with line-drive speed over the right field wall, putting the Gators ahead for the final time.
“Garcia did a nice job, even with the two solo homers,” Schlossnagle said. “Credit Florida, putting good swings on those balls.”
A&M tried to make some noise in the bottom of the ninth, as after a Kaufer strikeout, Haas and Thompson drew walks, putting runners on first and second with two outs. LaViolette could not cash in on the opportunity to tie or win it in the end, hitting a soft flyout to Rivera to secure Florida’s victory.
“We hung up there with one of the best teams in the country,” Werner said. “I feel like that was probably one of the best games we’ve played all year. [Schlossnagle] mentioned to the team that’s what a regional, that’s what a super regional looks like.”

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