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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘Only up from here’

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore Jack Moss (9) hits a foul ball during Game 11 of the Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Texas A&M baseball bested Lamar in a 17-inning affair using crucial at-bats and a lethal combination of veterans and new talent during its exhibition game on Saturday, Oct. 15.
After an appearance at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., last season, the Aggies spent their summer months meticulously creating another championship-worthy roster. When Fall Ball exhibition gameplay officially began, the team was ready to showcase the skills they had expertly crafted during the offseason.
“This is just a little highlight in the middle of our fall practice, where we get to include the fans and give them a preview of our team,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
The game was structured into a doubleheader, utilizing pitch counts to maintain a reasonable pace for the athletes and attending fans. The 17 innings were used to provide ample opportunity for both teams’ players to take the field and gain valuable field experience, while the two-game split was used for coaches to experiment with different lineups and batting orders.
The first game, an eight inning affair, featured many players that fans could recognize from previous years: junior first baseman Jack Moss, junior third baseman Trevor Werner and senior outfielder Jordan Thompson. Also on the field were standout newcomers such as Arizona State transfer shortstop Hunter Haas and freshman outfielder Jace LaViolette.
Because of the format of the matchup, there were many opportunities for pitchers to shine.
With LaViolette hitting three solo home runs in his first game in maroon and many other players experiencing bouts of offensive success, the game concluded after eight innings with a score of 13-2.
“It was our first real game against real competition, and we really played as a team — it was awesome to see,” LaViolette said.
The second game consisted of nine full innings and a smaller score gap between A&M and Lamar, largely due to the ever-changing lineups that both teams utilized as a way to provide each player with an ample opportunity to play. With the maroon and white’s Game 2 team housing a multitude of new players, it was obvious that Schlossnagle was attempting to allow the athletes to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
“The exhibition games give us a chance to see our players — especially our new players — play against a different-colored jersey with a crowd and game production,” Schlossnagle said. “You find out some guys play better; it’s a great experience for both teams.”
The Fightin’ Farmers were able to take Game 2 8-6 in a battle of pitching changes and fielding errors.
Both games provided the Aggies with the opportunity to connect with one another and gain the positive team morale that played a major role in their College World Series run.
“We’re trying to play together as a team — that’s what we were so good at last year, and we’re trying to replicate it,” Werner said.
While the team may look a bit different from years prior, with the drafting of players like Micah Dallas and Dylan Rock and the addition of the multitalented new faces, the team has already grown close during the offseason. And even after one game, they feel closer than before.
“It was a bonding moment for us,” LaViolette said. “Now that we see what we can do, and we play well with each other, it’s only up from here.”
Even with the work that had been put into preparing for the Lamar matchup, Schlossnagle said that the group is still not close to what fans can expect when the season starts in the spring. While there were highlights to the game, he said that there is still much to work on.
The maroon and white will play one more exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. There, the team will look to defeat Sam Houston and discover more of the team connectivity that is required to make it to another College World Series.

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