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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Errors doom Aggies in loss to Alabama

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Photo by Cameron Johnson

Senior catcher Troy Claunch (12) runs toward first base at Olsen Field in Blue Bell Park on Friday, March 25, 2022.

In an error-filled back-and-forth affair at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Texas A&M fell short against Alabama.
The A&M baseball team suffered a 10-9 loss to the Crimson Tide on Saturday, April 2, as the Aggies couldn’t complete a comeback from a three-run seventh inning by Alabama. The loss evens the series 1-1 after A&M fended off a comeback bid in a 3-2 win on Friday.
The Aggies’ offense was led by two familiar faces, graduate left fielder Dylan Rock and graduate catcher Troy Claunch, as well as a new addition to the lineup, junior designated hitter Jordan Thompson. After recording his first two hits of the season the day before, Thompson put together a 2-for-4 performance with two RBIs. Meanwhile, Rock and Claunch went a combined 5-for-9 on the day, with Claunch tallying an RBI.
A&M jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning after a single by Claunch scored Rock from third. The lead was short-lived, however, as Alabama put up a four-spot in the bottom of the frame to put themselves on top. The Crimson Tide were aided by three A&M errors in the inning that led to two unearned runs for freshman starting pitcher Ryan Prager.
Alabama rode the previous inning’s momentum to tack on three more runs in the fifth. Prager was chased from the game after issuing a walk, a wild pitch and a single to the first two batters, ending the day having allowed four earned runs in four innings on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Freshman pitcher Rawley Hector took over on the mound, giving up a fielder’s choice to plate a run followed by a two-run single.
The A&M bats unleashed a seven-run barrage to regain the lead in the next inning, led off by a double by Rock into left field. Sophomore first baseman Jack Moss then clobbered a pitch into the right-field seats to shorten the Alabama lead to four. Junior second baseman Austin Bost kept the hit parade going with an infield single before junior right fielder Brett Minnich worked a walk. The Aggies got the luck to swing their way when Claunch reached on an Alabama error, loading the bases and bringing in junior reliever Antoine Jean with no outs.
Jean quickly issued a bases-loaded walk to sophomore third baseman Ryan Targac to plate Bost before Thompson singled into center field to plate two runs. After the center fielder misplayed the ball, Targac came around to score, and Thompson ended up at third base. Graduate shortstop Kole Kaler then brought home Thompson on an RBI groundout, scoring the go-ahead run in the 8-7 ballgame.
After Hector sat down the Crimson Tide in order in the bottom of the sixth, the Aggies went down 1-2-3 themselves in the seventh. In the bottom of the frame, senior first baseman Drew Williamson reached on an error by Kaler, the Aggies’ fourth of the day, then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. After sophomore pitcher Will Johnston stepped in for A&M, an Alabama single with two outs brought home Williamson to tie the contest at eight. Johnston then issued two walks to load the bases before junior designated hitter William Hamiter smacked a base hit up the middle to score two and take the 10-8 lead.
The Aggies battled back with a terrific start in the eighth, as Claunch doubled before Targac singled to bring him home. Now within one, Targac advanced to second after a pickoff attempt sailed into right field, then got to third after sophomore center fielder Logan Britt grounded out. However, Alabama redshirt freshman reliever Dylan Ray issued strikeouts to Thompson and Kaler to strand the runner.
A&M threatened Alabama again in the ninth after Rock led off with a single. With two outs, Minnich singled before both baserunners completed a double steal to reach scoring position. Yet, consistent with the theme of the Aggies’ season so far, both were stranded after Ray struck out Claunch.
The rubber match of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 3 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, where junior pitcher Micah Dallas is expected to duel against sophomore pitcher Grayson Hitt.

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