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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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“Playing to a standard, not a scoreboard”

Photo by Photo by Ani Tummalapalli

Junior RHP Wyatt Tucker (36) pitches the ball during a game vs. Houston Chrisitian University at Blue Bell Park on Tuesday, Feb.28, 2023

In its first road trip of the season, Texas A&M baseball will compete in the Shriners Children’s College Classic, facing its first batch of ranked opponents at Minute Maid Park in Houston beginning on Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.
Following a walk-off win against the University of Portland on Sunday and a run-rule victory against Houston Christian University on Tuesday, the Aggies are hoping to use their newfound offensive confidence to continue their win streak this weekend.
“I knew [the batters] were going to come around,” junior pitcher Nathan Dettmer said. “Now that we’ve got it going, getting some momentum into this weekend — that’s huge.”
With a tournament full of matchups slated with standout teams such as the University of Louisville and the undefeated Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Fightin’ Farmers have the opportunity to face their first ranked opponents of the season — an obstacle they are ready for, junior third baseman Trevor Werner said.
“We feel like we’re prepared,” Werner said. “We’re ready to get after it.”
A&M will play its first game of the weekend against Louisville, a team that the maroon and white are well-acquainted with after defeating them in the Super Regional to secure their ticket to the College World Series last season.
“There’s going to be a little fire on the field because we knocked them out last year,” Werner said. “We’re going to come ready to play and I know for sure they’re going to be ready to play.”
Despite being eliminated from postseason contention last season, the Cardinals were able to outhit the Aggies 13-5 in the second game of the Super Regional, presenting the maroon and white with a difficult matchup. Now, Louisville holds a 7-1 record on its new season, and its offensive power is seemingly just as present as it was last time the two teams faced off.
“They can win any kind of baseball game in any way,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Elite pitching and really good defense — they have guys that can run, guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark … you can’t just try to beat them one way.”
With A&M’s offense coming to life against HCU and its bullpen boasting a wide range of pitching talents, the matchup against Louisville will be an even competition of skill and perseverance for both teams.
“Whatever the game calls for, the pitchers are going to be ready,” Dettmer said. “We have their [the offense’s] back and we know they have ours.”
The Aggies’ second game will take place on Saturday against Rice. Despite being the only unranked opponent participating in the tournament, the Owls and the maroon and white have met multiple times in both teams’ history, and the matchup has always been a battle on both sides.
“It’s about how we play, not about who we play,” Dettmer said. “You can’t underestimate any team.”
The Fightin’ Farmers last game of the tournament will be against Texas Tech, who enter the weekend with a record of 8-0. The 7-3 record in the last 10 games between the two teams has given A&M a favorable history against the Red Raiders — but the new season brings new challenges and talents for both competitors.
“It’s a nameless, faceless opponent and we’re just going to do what we do,” Werner said. “The results will take care of themselves.”
For some players, like Dettmer, the trip to Minute Maid Park will be their first taste of playing at a big league ballpark, making the tournament even more special.
“I’m going to take it all in — it’s going to be an awesome experience,” Dettmer said.
Despite the excitement of the new field and traveling for the first time in the new season, the Aggies are still working to maintain their focus on the upcoming games and perfecting their connectivity as a team — a vital key to their success.
“When we start playing for each other and not making the moment bigger than it is, that’s when we’re going to do really good,” Werner said.
In terms of preparing for the road trip and the slew of strong competitors, the team has decidedly begun to work under a new mantra.
“We don’t rise to the occasion, we just sink to the level of our training,” both Werner and Dettmer said.
The new phrase comes from Schlossnagle, a firm non-believer in “stepping up” in order to face tough opponents and win baseball games.
“If you have to step up, what were you doing during all the other games?” Schlossnagle said. “You do what you do every single day — you play to a standard, not a scoreboard.”
The Aggies will play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with all three first pitches set to be thrown at 7 p.m. The tournament can be watched on AT&T Sportsnet and listened to on the Texas A&M Aggies Sports Network at 1150 AM/93.7 FM.

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