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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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Hill, Sherrod toss combined two-hitter to blank Pepperdine 3-0

The+Aggies+meet+on+the+mound+to+discuss+strategy.
Photo by Cassie Stricker

The Aggies meet on the mound to discuss strategy.

On days he starts, Brigham Hill doesn’t watch when his team is batting. Instead, he retreats to the back of the dugout deep in thought about what he needs to improve on when he takes the mound the next inning.
It was probably a good thing he wasn’t watching on Friday night, as Pepperdine ace Ryan Wilson matched Hill pitch for pitch in a classic pitcher’s duel that remained in doubt until the Aggies (5-0) scored two insurance runs in the eighth to clinch a 3-0 victory.
“We told the guys before the game started, ‘You better be ready for a Friday night fight,’” A&M head coach Rob Childress said after the game. “Their lefty can flat out pitch. He wasn’t super sharp early and we strung something together in the first. Our pitching made it stand up.
Freshman designated hitter Jorge Gutierrez blooped a single into right field in the first inning to give the Aggies an early 1-0 lead, but then Wilson buckled down and traded zeroes with Hill for the next two hours.
Wilson, the West Coast Conference preseason Pitcher of the Year, was excellent on Friday — but Hill was better. A week after fanning 10 against Bowling Green in the season opener, Hill scattered two hits and no walks over 7.2 superb innings, striking out 10 more. His fastball command was better, and his changeup was dancing like usual.
“I thought it was a great night,” said Hill, who improved to 2-0 on the season. “Coach Childress and I really worked on fastball command throughout the week. I threw a lot of two-seamers tonight trying to keep the ball on the ground, especially with the wind.”
Hill retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth and, with his pitch count nearing the century mark, looked like he might have a chance to come back out for the ninth and fight for a shutout. But when Matt Crowder’s fly ball was dropped by Nick Choruby in center field, Childress went to the bullpen in favor of Cason Sherrod.
Sherrod struck out the Waves’ leadoff hitter Quincy McAfee on a nasty slider to end the frame. Sherrod returned for the ninth and, after hitting Matt Gelalich to start the inning, induced a flyout and then a 5-4-3 double play to lock down his first save of the season.
“Cason’s gross,” second baseman Braden Shewmake said of Sherrod. “When he comes in everybody has that sense that this game’s probably over. He’s going to pound the strike zone, he’s going to throw hard and he’s going to throw all his pitches for strikes.”
Sherrod entered the season as the setup man behind Corbin Martin, but Childress indicated after the game that Sherrod will pitch the ninth moving forward and Martin will be deployed in a “fireman” role where Childress can call on him at any point in the game to get out of a jam and pitch multiple innings at a time.
In the first inning, Shewmake reached base with a two-out walk, advanced to second on a walk by Walker Penningon, and then scored on Gutierrez’s single. The Aggies might have scored more that inning, but Gutierrez was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double.
After six innings went by with neither team even mounting much of a threat, A&M managed to give Hill and Co. some added cushion. Hunter Coleman started the inning with a walk and, after Choruby struck out after two failed sacrifice bunt attempts, Blake Kopetsky ripped a single up the middle. Shewmake followed with an RBI double to left center field, and then Kopetsky scored moments later on a sacrifice fly by Pennington.
“It’s huge for our team to have good competition come in and play us well,” Shewmake said. “It forced us to do things [well], forced us to make plays off mistakes. We made mistakes tonight but we were able to recover. We figured out how to hit in key situations and we got the job done.”
Wilson (0-1) tossed seven stellar innings for the Waves, finishing with six hits allowed and five strikeouts.
The Aggies will square off with Pepperdine again Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network +.

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  • Texas A&M v. Pepperdine

    Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • Brigham Hill fell to 4-2 on the season, allowing four runs in six innings against Vanderbilt. 

    Photo by Cassie Stricker
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