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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Hill and Ecker shut out South Carolina 3-0

Mark+Ecker+lowered+his+ERA+to+a+sparkling+0.29+with+three+more+scoreless+innings+against+the+Gamecocks.
Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Mark Ecker lowered his ERA to a sparkling 0.29 with three more scoreless innings against the Gamecocks.

Brigham Hill pitched six superb innings, Mark Ecker relieved him in the seventh and finished the game with three innings of dominance as the No. 2 Aggies defeated No. 8 South Carolina 3-0.
Hill allowed five hits and struck out six, while Ecker struck out six of the 10 batters he faced to secure his fourth save of the season. The shutout marks A&M’s second in a row – the first time the Aggies (38-10, 17-8 SEC) have accomplished back-to-back shutouts in conference play since 1990 – and third in the past four games.
“I felt like Brigham [Hill] came out with purpose tonight,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said after the game. “South Carolina had him wobbling early, but each time they had runners on bases he made the pitches he needed to make. We played great defense behind him. And we got the ball to Ecker in the seventh and he didn’t let their batters get anything going. He was just relentless.”
It took six full innings for a run to cross the plate, but Hill had to escape trouble a few times to keep his line spotless.
The first of those came in the first inning, when Hill issued a two-out walk to Alex Destino and then allowed a double to Dom Thompson-Williams. However, Hill struck out Jonah Bride looking to end the threat.
A&M right fielder Nick Banks then ended the second inning by throwing out Madison Stokes at the plate as the South Carolina second baseman tried to score from second on a single.
“Our defense did some great work,” Hill said. “South Carolina was relentless, but we came up with big plays when they got runners into scoring position. And Ecker came in and was huge.”
Even though Hill had to navigate through some trouble, he eventually settled down. After Bride singled in the fourth, the Gamecocks did not record another hit for the remainder of the game.
The Aggies finally managed to scratch a run across in the seventh inning. Ryne Birk led off the frame by singling to left and then Michael Barash was drilled with an inside fastball as he tried to sacrifice Birk into scoring position. Banks followed by laying a bunt down the third base line for an infield single.
And after a Joel Davis ground ball resulted in a fielder’s choice at the plate, Austin Homan hit a chopper up the middle to drive in Barash for the first run of the game.
The Aggies tacked insurance in the eighth as they finally got to South Carolina starter Clarke Schmidt. The Gamecocks’ righty, who scattered five hits and three runs over 7.2 innings, was pulled from the game after he walked Birk on four pitches to put runners on the corners with two outs.
Barash promptly welcomed South Carolina reliever Tyler Johnson by smacking an RBI single to left field that plated Birk, and then Jonathan Moroney worked an RBI bases-loaded walk to give the Aggies three runs.
As a team, the Gamecocks (37-12, 16-8 SEC) were only 2-for-17 with runners on base and 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
“We couldn’t do anything to help him or our pitching staff out,” South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook said. “We didn’t do enough offensively, and that’s the story of the game. Their pitchers were better than our hitters. They got a couple of big hits there in the seventh and eighth. It was a tough night for us and we will try to bounce back tomorrow.”
The series picks back up at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at South Carolina’s Founders Park. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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  • Brigham Hill improved to 6-1 with Friday’s victory over South Carolina.

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