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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

New team, same Olsen magic

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Students in section 203 chant “Ball 5” as bubbles are released during the 7th inning at Blue Bell Park on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

As the last remaining sunlight dipped behind Kyle Field’s colossus, the air turned cold and the blinding Olsen field floodlights came to life. Blue Bell Park’s attendance of 6,341 erupted with cheers to welcome Texas A&M’s new baseball team to the field. Minutes later, the Aggies threw out the first three pitches for a strikeout, proving the return of The Rifleman and officially ushering the Jim Schlossnagle era into Aggieland.
The Aggies faced off against Fordham on Friday, Feb. 18 in the first game of the opening weekend’s three-game series. After giving up a quick run in the top of the first, the Aggies fired back. At many points, things got ugly for Fordham’s defense when the Aggies stepped into the batter’s box, to the tune of a 13-1 A&M victory.
“I think there was a little bit of nerves [in the first inning], but I settled in after that first [run]. Just kept rolling,” sophomore right-handed pitcher Nathan Dettmer said.
A&M tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second and expanded to a one-run lead in the bottom of the third, but in the fifth inning, the game opened up. With two runners in scoring position provided by a Fordham balk, junior left fielder Brett Minnich grounded out with an RBI, advancing a runner to third. Sophomore third baseman Trevor Werner followed up with his second double of the night before scoring himself, leaving the score at 5-1.
“[Werner’s hitting is] something we’ve seen a lot of in practice. I think he’s a guy that is obviously super physically talented,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s a guy that has a pretty good concept of the strike zone; he’s obviously immensely strong and twitchy and athletic. We have pretty high regard for Trevor … it’s fun to see him have success.”
Then came the seventh inning bubble armageddon. Minnich stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error. He was driven across home plate by a Werner single. Werner, with some baserunning heroics of his own and more botched throws from Fordham, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and then to home on another throwing error — three slides into bases, one live ball. All this was followed up by a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, a bases-loaded four-pitch walk, Werner being walked with loaded bases and a last bases-loaded walk.
After the inning’s third out, most fans retired from the cold and vacated the stands. Eight runs in one inning — five without bats involved — brought the game to its final score and was all many fans needed to see. Werner led the Aggies’ bats in the game, hitting 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
Werner, when asked by reporters about his three-base steal, said, “Yeah, you like that? You like that? I’m still out of breath a little bit … it was good fun.”
To complement A&M’s hot bats, its pitching staff was equally impressive in the season’s first showing. Dettmer — who shut out Texas in seven innings last season — started the game and only gave up one free base and three hits while striking out seven batters in six innings pitched.
“Really proud of [Dettmer] — I knew he was going to be a strike-thrower,” Sclossnagle said. “He didn’t throw very many good breaking balls in the first couple of innings, but then he got it going. He’s going to need that pitch against the competition we face throughout the rest of the season. But he did a nice job, pitched with some emotion; I feel really good about that.”
As Schlossnagle, a majority of the coaching staff and many of the Aggies take home a win in their first outing wearing maroon and white, they’ll still need to turn around and do it again tomorrow. The next two games of the weekend series begin at 2 p.m. and 12 p.m., respectively.
“Just coming out an hour before the game and Section 203 and everything up there was almost full. And then the War Hymn after the top of the first was awesome,” Schlossnagle said. “It was everything I thought it would be. For the first one in the uniform for me … it’s nice to get that first one, and hopefully a warmer day tomorrow, everyone will come back plus some.”

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  • Sophomore third baseman Trevor Werner (28) races against Fordham pitcher Anthony Scarlata (32) to steal home at Blue Bell Park on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

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