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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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Lacy leads A&M to win over Army with career-high 14 strikeouts

Center+fielder+Ray+Alejo+dives+for+third+base.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Center fielder Ray Alejo dives for third base.

On Friday, left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy set a new career-high 14 strikeouts in just five innings as the No. 21 Texas A&M baseball team defeated the Army Black Knights 12-3 at Olsen Field.
With the victory, the Aggies move to 6-0 on the season for the first time, something the team has not done since 2013. Army, a team that started its season with a 2-1 victory over No. 15 Duke, has now lost three consecutive games.
Though the box score may not reflect it, the contest was a great test for how A&M would deal with adversity, said A&M coach Rob Childress.
“People will look in the box score tomorrow and not realize what a dog fight it was,” Childress said. “Our guys did a wonderful job. [Army] gets a big two-out hit in the first and they’ve got all the momentum, and luckily we come back and answer with four [of our own.] You’ve got a chance to extend it in the second and fourth [innings] with a runner at third base. We don’t do that and just like that, it’s game on. All in all it was a hard fought Friday night win, although the box score tomorrow may not show that.”
Coming off a three hit, eight strikeout performance last weekend in a win against Miami of Ohio, Lacy (2-0) excelled from the mound against Army. After allowing a run in the first inning, Lacy kept Army off the scoreboard for the rest of his outing, allowing the Aggies to overcome a slow offensive stretch during the middle innings. In five innings pitched, Lacy finished with four hits allowed, one earned run, one walk and 14 strikeouts, including four in the first inning alone. Lacy’s best work came in the third inning, where he struck out the side. Lacy also retired the side in both the second and fourth innings, recording two strikeouts in each.
Rightfielder Zach DeLoach said Lacy’s performance made playing defense easy.
“It’s a lot of fun, and a lot less stressful I should say,” DeLoach said. “He’s a grinder, he throws strikes, he’s a strike pumper. You know you’re going to get a good outing from him every time he steps on the mound. He’s a confident guy, and you know exactly what you’re getting from him day in and day out.”
When Lacy left at the top of the sixth, the Aggies started to struggle at containing the Army defense. In the sixth inning, left-handed pitcher Chris Weber allowed Army to load the bases before getting A&M out of a jam with a strikeout and an infield groundout to end the inning. After a solid seventh inning where he retired the side, Weber allowed a two-run home run to Army’s John McKenna in the top of the ninth to cut the deficit to nine. After allowing a single to Bennet Smith, Weber was replaced by freshman left-handed pitcher Mason Ornelas, who finished the night for the Aggies without allowing a hit. As a team, the Aggies recorded a program-high 22 strikeouts.
Offensively, the Aggies continued to flex their strong offensive start, producing another double-digit scoring output, their fourth so far this season. The Aggies finished with 12 runs off of 11 hits, six walks and nine RBIs.
After Army got on the scoreboard in the top of the first, A&M immediately responded, as a single by first baseman Hunter Coleman drove in Bryce Blaum from third base, tying the game. One batter later, DeLoach, who entered the game with the highest batting average in the nation at .833, launched a three-run shot into deep right field, giving the Aggies a 4-1 lead at the end of the first frame.
After four scoreless innings where they left four batters on base, the Aggies added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and no outs, a throwing error by Army pitcher Lepcio allowed centerfielder Ray Alejo and catcher Mikey Hoehner to score. One batter later, a single by Blaum drove in shortstop Trevor Werner and second basemen Ty Coleman. A Will Frizzell single along the left foul line allowed Blaum to score from second base, driving in the Aggies’ fifth run of the sixth inning and extending the A&M lead to nine.
After a five-run sixth inning, the Aggies carried their offense into the final two innings of the game. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, a failed pickoff attempt by Army allowed Alejo to score from third base, giving A&M 10 runs through seven innings. After Weber allowed a two-run homerun in the top of the eighth, the Aggies matched that in the bottom of the eighth, as DeLoach launched his second home run of the game, this time a two-run shot, into right field. DeLoach led the team with five RBIs.
Childress said the work DeLoach did in the off-season helped prepare him for this start.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Childress said. “He had a great summer and has worked really hard. Usually guys that have worked hard are prepared to get off to a good start. And that’s certainly the case with him.”
The Aggies continue their series against Army Saturday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. Right-handed pitcher Christian Roa will pitch for A&M while Army will start left-handed pitcher Logan Smith. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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