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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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Dallas’ poise keeps A&M alive in series-splitting, extra-inning win over Auburn

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Junior pitcher Micah Dallas (34) winds up a pitch at Olsen Field in Blue Bell Park on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

At home on Olsen Field, the last two days for Texas A&M baseball told parallel stories with different endings. Where the Friday night series opener and its dramatics sent the Aggies into one added frame of play just to come up empty-handed, Saturday gave them a shot at extra-inning redemption.

In the March 26 hosting of Auburn with the series on the line, A&M stared down Auburn, looking to stay alive in the series. The Tigers struck immediately with four unanswered runs in two innings off junior right-handed pitcher Micah Dallas, but the transfer from Texas Tech didn’t fold.   

“I kinda just stuck with the game plan, kept attacking them. When you fill up the zone, things can switch like that,” Dallas said. “The first inning didn’t go our way. Second inning didn’t go our way either — they made some good swings on some pitches, made me pay. After that inning, I feel like there’s a big switch in momentum.”

In the second inning, Dallas gave up back-to-back solo home runs. The Aggies were down 4-0. Then, the switch was flipped. Dallas, after giving up a double, forced a ground out and struck out the next two batters to retire the side — his fourth K in two innings.

Dallas went on to throw for five more innings, giving up only two more hits and fanning six more batters for a total of 10 strikeouts in the 7.0 innings pitched.

“I really hope our young pitchers are watching what Micah Dallas did today,” sophomore center fielder Logan Britt said. “He’s a true veteran who has been through the gauntlet — he just competed his heart out. He gave us the shot.”

While Dallas was working his magic from the mound, A&M’s offense was slowly battling back into the game. After five one-run innings culminated in a bottom-of-the-11th sacrifice fly, the Aggies cut the parallels from the night before short and downed Auburn 5-4.

After the second inning, A&M gave up no more runs. Dallas was relieved in the top of the eighth by sophomore pitcher Will Johnston, who struck out two batters and gave up no hits in two innings pitched. Freshman pitcher Brad Rudis closed out the game and earned the win, striking out one and allowing two hits in the final two frames.

“Gritty, gritty. That’s what it is. I mean, just wanting it more than the other team,” graduate shortstop Kole Kaler, who hit the game-sealing sacrifice fly, said. “That’s probably the best way to put it, just having that competitive grit — coach has been talking about it the past couple weeks — but we definitely had that today.”

Britt led the maroon and white’s bats for the day by hitting two doubles — and scoring on both — in five at-bats. A&M totaled 11 hits to Auburn’s 10 in the win that set up the rubber match on Sunday, March 27.

“We got punched in the gut last night, and it was basically [about] how you respond today,” Britt said. “We can come in with our heads down, or [we can] hang them high and compete. Now it’s 1-1, you win the series on Sunday now.”

The win advances the Aggies’ overall record to 14-8 and SEC record to 3-2 as the team turns to the last game of the series with first pitch at noon.

“We’re just gritty. We’re going to beat you any way we can,” Britt said. “Any window you give us to take advantage of it, we’re going to capitalize.”

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