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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

Early runs aid Aggies to sweep Long Beach State in 5-1 win

Michael+Helman+runs+home+after+hitting+the+ball+out+of+the+park.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Michael Helman runs home after hitting the ball out of the park.

Early offense backed by Mitchell Kilkenny’s solid start guided No. 10 Texas A&M to a series sweep over Long Beach State with a 5-1 win.
Kilkenny (W, 4-0) continued to dominate on the mound, throwing 8.0 innings – the longest outing of his career – allowing one run on five hits while striking seven out batters to two walks.
“I thought he was really, really good,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said of Kilkenny’s outing. “Threw all four pitches for strikes, probably as good as he’s been all year long. I know his strikeout numbers weren’t high, but he still landed the change-up and slider anytime he wanted to.”
On a rather windy day at the ballpark, Kilkenny said he had to hone in while dealing with swirling gusts.
“That was the first time I’ve ever pitched where the wind has actually been a factor,” Kilkenny said. “On some of my balls, whether it was a curveball or change-up, the wind was pushing it some and it wasn’t consistent, but that definitely made it a lot harder.”
At the plate, A&M struck early and often, scoring all five of its runs in the first two innings.
First baseman Chris Andritsos put the Aggies ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice liner to right field, scoring Michael Helman from third.
In the second inning, A&M added four more runs on four runs, all of which were unearned as the Dirtbags had a sloppy frame.
“We scored early and didn’t give them any hope as the game went along,” Childress said.
After the second, however, the Aggie bats went rather silent, only putting three runners on base in the final six innings on a brisk, overcast day at the ballpark.
“With the wind blowing in, we had to make sure we were hitting flat balls unlike yesterday when we could lift balls in the air and they could carry,” Helman said of A&M’s approach at the plate. “Today, if you put anything in the air, it was just going to die.”
Helman continued his hot ways in the box, going 3-for-3 with a trio of singles. The junior second baseman finished the weekend 7-for-11 with four RBI.
“I actually got kicked out of the cage yesterday because I was hitting so bad, but I think that kind of helped me turn it on,” Helman said of his weekend. “It definitely builds my confidence, and just as a whole we were hitting the ball very well these past two games.”
The Dirtbags lone run came in the seventh inning on a RBI-single to right field by Garrett Nelson, scoring a runner from second.
A&M returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts UT-Arlington at 6:30 p.m. before the Aggies begin their conference slate next weekend on the road against Auburn.
“Getting a sweep, it builds a whole lot of confidence and I think we’ve got a little edge going into SEC play,” Helman said.

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