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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

Four for four

A&M mashes four homers in 9-3 rout of Incarnate Word
Ali+Camarillo+%282%29+waiting+to+see+if+he+got+the+out+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+UIW+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+20%2C+2024+at+Olsen+Field.+%28Hannah+Harrison%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Hannah Harrison
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&M’s game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon at Olsen Field when A&M faced off against Incarnate Word, where the Maroon and White laid claim to their fourth consecutive win to begin the season.

In a battle of undefeated squads, the Aggies handed the Cardinals their first loss of the season with a score of 9-3.

Junior RHP Chris Cortez started the game for A&M, where he tossed 5.2 innings and allowed two earned runs, six hits, eight strikeouts and one hit batter.

Despite allowing a couple of Cardinals to reach base, he struck out the side in the top of the first inning.

In the bottom of the first, sophomore CF Jace LaViolette kept his hot start to 2024 going, as he sent a solo homer to center field to give the Aggies an early 1-0 lead.

Cortez was not as sharp in the second inning. He allowed a two-run double off the center field wall to senior DH Cameron Coley with two outs, which gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. This marked the first time in the young season where A&M trailed at any point in a game.

The Maroon and White responded quickly. In the bottom of the second, freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac drove in a pair of runs with the bases loaded and two outs, giving A&M a 3-2 advantage.

The third inning was a clean one for Cortez, as he retired the side 1-2-3 with a popout and two flyouts.

The Aggies extended their lead in the bottom half of the inning, where junior RF Braden Montgomery hammered a solo shot to right-center field to make it 4-2.

A&M showed off some nice glovework in the top of the fourth to help Cortez end the frame. Senior C Jackson Appel threw out a runner at second for the second out, and sophomore 2B Kaeden Kent followed it up by ending the inning with a fantastic backhanded throw to first.

Cortez continued to sustain himself as the game went along, recording a pair of punchouts in yet another scoreless inning.

Senior LF Hayden Schott hit another home run for the Aggies, sending a solo blast to right and pushing the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

Coach Jim Schlossnagle pulled Cortez with two outs in the fifth. Cortez continued the streak of strong outings by Aggie starters, as all of A&M’s starting pitchers have recorded at least five strikeouts and less than three earned runs allowed in their respective starts this season.

“I just went out there and was myself today,” Cortez said.

Replacing him was senior LHP Evan Aschenbeck, who tallied a strikeout to end the inning.

The Maroon and White continued to pad their lead, as junior SS Ali Camarillo scored from third on a passed ball. The sixth inning came to a close with the Aggies leading 6-2.

Aschenbeck ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the seventh, as he had two runners on with two outs. Grahovac picked him up, however, when he made a diving play and caught the ball on a lineout to end the frame.

Freshman 1B Blake Binderup led off the Aggie half of the inning with a ground ball single on the left side. Two batters later, senior DH Ted Burton launched a ball to left-center field for his first home run of the season.

In the eighth inning, freshman RHP Weston Moss came to the mound and replaced Ashenbeck, where he recorded one strikeout and allowed an earned run.

LaViolette got that run right back for the Aggies, hitting his second solo home run of the day in the bottom half of the frame to make it 9-3. He is now at a staggering five homers in just four games played so far.

“If you’re not on top of the fastball, this game gets really, really hard really fast,” LaViolette said. “I just try and get my best swing off on a fastball… no matter what count it is.”

This is now the second game of the season thus far where A&M has hit at least five home runs. Currently, the team leads the SEC in home runs.

Sophomore RHP Peyton Smith finished the win off for A&M, and he retired three straight batters after allowing a leadoff double to seal the 9-3 victory for the Maroon and White.

“It was actually my favorite win of the year,” Schlossnagle said.

Up next, A&M will begin a three-game set when they host Wagner on Friday, Feb. 23 at 6:00 p.m..

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