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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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)
United they fall
June 24, 2024
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)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

Late homers doom Aggies as they fall to Arkansas in extra innings, 6-4

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Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Childress meets with his players at the mound. 

Rob Childress pulled out all the stops in Thursday night’s series opener against No. 17 Arkansas.
He made a defensive replacement in the second inning. He handled his bullpen like the expert pitching coach that he is. He mixed and matched his lineup, penciling a whopping five different players into the No. 2 spot throughout the evening.
The No. 24 Aggies could not translate all the strategizing into a victory, however, as a crucial two-out, two-run homer by Chad Spanberger off Mitchell Kilkenny in the tenth inning propelled Arkansas to a 6-4 victory in front of 5,396 fans at Olsen Field.
“It was a hard-fought loss, but there are no moral victories in a loss at Texas A&M,” Childress said after the game. “I’m proud of some of the things we did along the way but at the end of the night, we didn’t get it done.”
After Braden Shewmake put A&M ahead in the third with a three-run home run, it looked like the Aggies (35-19, 15-13 SEC) were going to hold on for a 3-2 victory. Starting pitcher Brigham Hill settled down after a rough first two innings and Kaylor Chafin was cruising through two scoreless innings of relief.
Chafin, who hadn’t allowed an earned run since March 26, saw his scoreless inning streak end at 28.1 in the eighth inning. Dominic Fletcher led off the frame with a single and Jax Biggers followed with a line drive home run to right field to put the Razorbacks up 4-3.
Arkansas (38-14, 17-10 SEC) threatened to add to its lead later in the eighth, but Childress inserted Cason Sherrod into a bases-loaded situation and the junior righty induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to escape the jam.
The Aggies did not score again after Shewmake’s opposite-field blast until the bottom of the ninth, when they needed one run to prolong the game or two to win it. Hunter Coleman led off the inning with a walk but was erased moments later on a Blake Kopetsky fielder’s choice, and then Cole Bedford hit a double down the left-field line. With runners on second and third, Jorge Gutierrez, who started at first base in place of the injured Joel Davis, lofted a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to score Kopetsky.
The momentum for tying the game did not last long, however, as Kilkenny (3-3) got two quick outs in the tenth but then surrendered a single and the go-ahead round-tripper to Spanberger. It appeared off the bat that the fly ball would stay in the yard, but it ended up on top of the scoreboard for a no-doubt homer.
“I thought it was just a pop-fly to maybe the warning track,” Hill said. “It just got up in the air and that was that.”
Hill was very inefficient early in his outing and left too much of a burden on the bullpen by not pitching deep into the game. He left the game after five innings, throwing 98 pitches and going to nine different three-ball counts in the process.
“They were battling the whole game, they extended at-bats and they were tough outs tonight,” Hill said. “I felt good, I was competing — they had a few lucky hits here and there — but overall I felt good.”
For the Razorbacks, Trevor Stephan was nearly flawless other than the third inning. He pitched into the eighth, scattering five hits in 7.2 innings and striking out 10 with only one walk.
Reliever Jake Reindl (3-1) came into the game in the ninth and earned the victory by allowing one run in two innings of work.
The Aggies struck out 12 times on the night and the 4-through-9 hitters in the lineup went a combined 2-for-21 at the plate.
“Scoring four runs on a Thursday night is nice, but we know we’re capable of a lot more,” Shewmake said. “We have to be better offensively, bottom line.”
The teams return to the diamond for game two Friday at 6:30. Corbin Martin will get the ball for the Aggies and the contest can be seen on SEC Network +.

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