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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Five run eighth lifts No. 22 A&M baseball over Alabama

Junior+catcher+Cole+Bedford+finished+the+night+with+5+RBIs.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Junior catcher Cole Bedford finished the night with 5 RBIs.

The No. 22 Texas A&M baseball team defeated Alabama 12-6 on Thursday night in the series opener thanks to an explosive eighth inning.
The Aggies held a 7-6 lead in heading into the bottom of the eighth where their bats caught fire. The scoring started off after sophomore shortstop Braden Shewmake hit a ground ball that bounced over the head of the Crimson Tide first baseman and plating junior third baseman George Janca and junior second baseman Michael Helman.
The next batter, sophomore designated hitter Hunter Coleman, singled to left field driving home sophomore outfielder Logan Foster and advancing Shewmake to third. Junior catcher Cole Bedford then singled down the right field line, scoring Coleman and Shewmake and giving the Aggies a 12-6 lead at the end of the eighth.
The eighth inning explosion capped a night highlighted by both teams’ bats, something A&M head coach Rob Childress says wasn’t unexpected.
“I think coming into the day-to-day, everyone’s a weatherman and you knew that there was going to be some offense available tonight and it was exactly what I thought it was,” Childress said. “I didn’t know it was going to be 18 runs but I didn’t think it would be a 2-1 game.”
The Alabama bats were stalled when A&M junior RHP Nolan Hoffman, who was accredited with the save, took the bump. Hoffman finished the night allowing just three hits and notching two strikeouts in two innings pitched. Perhaps the more important statistic for Hoffman, who entered the game on short rest after pitching on Tuesday against Texas, may have been Hoffman’s pitch count of just 31 pitches. Childress elected to go with Hoffman on short rest which paid dividends though his availability for the remainder of the series may be limited.
“I felt like we had to do it and if we don’t have him tomorrow, we don’t have him tomorrow but you’ve got to win Thursday first and that’s why we went with him there in the eighth inning,” Childress said. “I wanted to win today, we’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”
Alabama pitcher Sam Finnerty blanked the maroon and white in the first two innings but then the Aggie bats came to life, scoring in five of the last six innings that they came to the plate. Cole Bedford highlighted the offensive effort, finishing the game 4-of-5 with a home run, two doubles and a game-high five RBI.
“The offense came alive tonight and it looked like it could any game. That’s what you should expect… a lot of team at-bats and I feel like we did that tonight and we were rewarded for that.” Shewmake said.
John Doxakis got the start for the Aggies on the mound but struggled to find his command early in the game which resulted in him getting caught in some early jams.
“His fastball got a little in at times but thought he battled really good. He didn’t allow too many baserunners to score,” Cole Bedford said. “It’s just baseball, sometimes stuff happens and I thought he handled it well.”
Thursday’s win marks the first time in SEC play that the Aggies have been able to win a series opener.
“Getting the first one out of the way is a big sigh of relief but we know we have a lot of work to do. We know we’ve got the guys in place to do well for the rest of the weekend,” Shewmake said. “I think we’re in a good position.”
The Aggies will look to clinch the series against Alabama Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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