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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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Midnight magic

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior CF Jordan Thompson (31) stomps his foot on home plate after hitting a game-tying home run at Olsen Field on Friday, June 10, 2022.

The after-midnight magic is alive and well in Blue Bell Park.

The Texas A&M baseball team won the first game in its super regional series against the Louisville Cardinals, 5-4, on Friday night into Saturday morning,after a walk-off from graduate catcher Troy Claunch inched the Aggies ahead by one in the bottom of the ninth after being tied for the last three innings.
“I was really just trying to slow myself down,” Claunch said. “In that situation, I had already faced him, so I was pretty comfortable in seeing everything that he had. I was sitting dead-red fastball, and I got one that I liked.”

The Aggies got on the bases early during the first inning after a double from sophomore infielder Jack Moss and graduate outfielder Dylan Rock and junior outfielder Austin Bost were walked. After Claunch was hit by a pitch, A&M got on the board with a 1-0 lead after Moss ran home. 

The Cardinals responded with three runs during the top of the second after a pair of singles and a walk. Louisville’s sophomore infielder Logan Beard launched another single out to center field then advanced to second on the throw while senior outfielder Cameron Masterman and sophomore catcher Jack Payton scored. A sacrifice fly from senior catcher Ben Bianco facilitated another run for the Cardinals from sophomore outfielder Issac Humphrey, giving them a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the second. 

With two outs left in the third, junior outfielder Brett Minnich sent a double out to right field, followed by a single from junior outfielder Jordan Thompson that allowed him to score, bringing the lead down to 3-2. The Aggies and Cardinals both failed to score during the fourth, but an error and double allowed sophomore infielder Christian Knapczyk to score an unearned run during the fifth, bringing the score to 4-2.

The Aggies came alive during the seventh inning with a single through the left side by Claunch. On a 1-2 count, Thompson launched a two-run homer out the park to tie the game 4-4. 
With no action in the eighth from either team, it all came down to the ninth. After a clutch double play that sent the Cardinals’ offense back to the dugout, it was the Aggies’ turn. The bottom of the inning started off with Werner getting walked, with a Bost single to left field shortly after. After Targac was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with two outs. Claunch quickly got to work, sending a single through the right side on the first pitch and securing the walk-off win for the Aggies, 5-4. 

“From this point forward, it’s about guts and grit,” A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I’m excited to be with these guys and everyone else in an Aggie uniform.”

Throughout the game, the Aggies recorded two errors and had 17 players left on base. 

“All that means is they’re due tomorrow,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s the way we look at it.”

The Aggies utilized three pitchers throughout the duration of the game. Sophomore righty Nathan Dettmer started off on the mound, pitching for 4.1 innings and four strikeouts. Junior lefty Joseph Menefee replaced him and pitched for 2.2 innings before graduate left-hand pitcher Jacob Palisch took over. Tonight’s win improves his season record to 6-3. 

It is possible that Aggie baseball fans will see some familiar faces on the mound as soon as tomorrow, according to Schlossnagle. 

“Menefee and Palisch are a big part of ours,” Schlossnagle said. “Palisch only threw 30, so maybe he’s available tomorrow. We invested a lot with Menefee and Palisch to try and win the game.”

A&M still has to prove themselves once more in its next game against the Cardinals, which Schlossnagle said he understands. 

“I know Louisville is a super talented team, and this thing is far from over,” Schlossnagle said. “I’ve been in these super regionals nine or ten times, and one game doesn’t mean a thing. They’re fighting for their lives, and so are we.”

A&M and Louisville will return to Olsen Field on Saturday, June 11, with first pitch slated for 2:02 p.m. 

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