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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Haas’ 3-run homer powers A&M to 5-4 win over LSU

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior SS Hunter Haas (2) hits a 3 RBI home run to give the Aggies the lead in the bottom of the 8th during Texas A&M’s game against Tarleton at Olsen Field on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Junior SS Hunter Haas was having a game he’d like to forget entering the seventh inning of Texas A&M baseball’s SEC Tournament fourth round matchup with LSU on Friday, May 26. With the No. 10 seed Aggies trailing 3-1 in an elimination game in Hoover, Alabama, the leadoff hitter was 0-for-3 with a trio of strikeouts.
However, upon the game’s conclusion, it was one of the biggest of his A&M career.
The maroon and white mounted a rally in the seventh inning as junior LF Ryan Targac drew a leadoff walk before senior 2B Austin Bost doubled to put the pair in scoring position. Senior DH Brett Minnich’s sacrifice fly plated Targac before freshman C Max Kaufer worked a full count walk as the go-ahead run.
The base on balls chased freshman LHP Griffin Herring from the contest as sophomore RHP Sam Dutton came on as damage control with Haas at the plate. Barring the previous at-bats from his mind, the Phoenix native hit a towering fly ball 365 feet to left field that junior LF Tre’ Morgan was unable to make a third spectacular catch on as it drifted over the fence.
“Ain’t nobody gonna remember about them three punchouts before that, are they?” ESPN analyst and LSU great Ben McDonald asked on the TV broadcast.
Haas’ 3-run homer earned him a ride on the team’s “Whammy Wagon” in the dugout and was the difference-maker in the Aggies’ 5-4 win over the No. 3 seed Tigers, who won the regular season series between the teams. With the victory, A&M advances to take on Arkansas in the Tournament semifinals on Saturday, May 27, at 12 p.m.
“I struggled, obviously, at the beginning of the game, so I kept telling myself, ‘just keep competing,’” Haas said. “‘Don’t think about anything else, just keep competing and you’re going to get a big one.’”
Taking on the conference’s best-hitting lineup at a rate over .310, the Aggies got a solid start out of junior LHP Will Johnston, tossing six innings with three runs on eight hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. A&M caught some luck in not having to face sophomore 3B Tommy White, whose 91 runs batted in rank second in the nation.
“He couldn’t play today,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said without explanation.
LSU got a good outing from junior RHP Ty Floyd, surrendering one run in five innings on three hits, a walk and a hit batter with seven punchouts.
Both teams traded blows in the second inning, with graduate DH Cade Beloso leading off with a single before advancing to third on a walk and sacrifice fly. Redshirt junior 3B Brayden’s Jobert’s RBI single brought him home as the Tigers struck first.
The Aggies didn’t wait long to respond, as back-to-back doubles from Targac and senior CF Jordan Thompson in the bottom of the inning plated the former and tied the game 1-1.
LSU replicated that in the top of the fourth with graduate 2B Gavin Dugas doubling before Jobert’s two-bagger brought him home to pick up the lead. Jobert advanced to third with no outs on a balk, but Johnston got two strikeouts and a foul out to escape the jam.
The Bayou Bengals tacked on an insurance run in the fifth, as redshirt junior C Hayden Travinski’s double plated Morgan all the way from first. Beloso then singled to put runners on the corners with no outs, but three straight outs neutralized the threat. That included an attempted squeeze play on a Dugas bunt, as Johnston flipped the ball to Kaufer in time to tag out Travinski.
“I actually thought the pace on the bunt was great, he got it to the ground,” Johnson said. “Just the angle wasn’t very good. We almost got it done anyway, it was a close play.”
A&M mounted its rally in the seventh to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead, despite ending the frame with the bases loaded. After six innings, junior LHP Evan Aschenbeck relieved Johnston on the mound. LSU had a chance to chip into the score in the eighth with a runner on second and dangerous junior CF Dylan Crews at the plate, but the projected No. 1 draft pick struck out swinging on a full count.
“We have a lot of respect for Dylan, so those were big pitches,” Schlossnagle said.
The Tigers weren’t done putting pressure on Aschenbeck and the Aggies. Down to their final two outs, Travinski singled before Beloso doubled to cap a 4-for-5 day at the plate and put both runners in scoring position. Facing freshman 1B Jared Jones, Aschenbeck hurled a wild pitch that allowed Travinski to race home and bring LSU within a run at 5-4. Jones was walked to place runners on the corners with just one out.
Aschenbeck sought to tame the Tigers as Dugas entered the box and the large contingent of LSU fans grew louder and louder. The Brenham native stuck with his foundation of a low-90s fastball and mix of offspeed pitches to punch out Dugas on five pitches.
“LSU feels like they brought their whole state with them,” Aschenbeck said. “It’s just like playing their home game, but this is what we’ve been practicing for this whole season, and as a student-athlete this is what you live for. Just bearing down, making pitches what was called because I know I have full trust in whatever coach puts in the PitchCom, and just making pitches is the biggest thing.”
Aschenbeck finished the job by inducing Jobert into a foul out near third base as A&M players, coaches and fans alike breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“[I] went out there and just executed pitches as I’ve been doing all year, and just having full trust in my mechanics, having full trust when I let go of the ball,” Aschenbeck said. “It’s helpful with what they’re calling in the PitchCom. Feels great.”
The Aggies did an impressive job of holding the Tigers’ runners on base, as LSU totaled 12 baserunners left on. That can be credited to both timely pitching and great defense.
“We had three or four other times, we had a runner at third with no outs and he didn’t score,” Johnson said. “Very uncharacteristic, some of it’s experience, having some younger players playing today and some of it’s Texas A&M pitching and some of it’s guys getting out of plan.”

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