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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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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Riding two different streaks, Aggies and Longhorns meet up in midweek matchup

The+Aggies+celebrate+their+victory+over+the+University+of+Texas+baseball+team+on+Sunday%2C+June+19%2C+2022.+This+is+A%26amp%3BM+baseballs+first+win+at+the+College+World+Series+since+1993+and+second+win+at+the+CWS+overall.
Photo by Photo courtesy of Kate Huffman – Texas A&M Athletics

The Aggies celebrate their victory over the University of Texas baseball team on Sunday, June 19, 2022. This is A&M baseball’s first win at the College World Series since 1993 and second win at the CWS overall.

Two teams on very different paths will collide at Olsen Field on Tuesday, March 28, as Texas A&M baseball meets Texas in the Lone Star Showdown. The Aggies are hungry for a win after falling to 1-5 in SEC play after being swept on the road by Tennessee last weekend, while the Longhorns have feasted on opponents this month, carrying the nation’s longest win streak at 14 games. In fact, Texas snagged A&M’s No. 21 ranking in the Top 25 as the Aggies tumbled out of the poll.
Sure, it may just be a simple midweek matchup, but this game’s meaning goes beyond the ballfield. Both teams’ hostility towards each other is no secret, to the point that neither can agree on how many times they’ve played each other. According to A&M, this will be the 375th meeting, while Texas claims it will be the 380th. Regardless, when the Aggies and Longhorns go at it, a victory feels just a bit sweeter, while a loss stings much more.
The maroon and white have shown a knack for corralling the burnt orange lately with wins in the past four matchups and seven of the last 10. Texas hasn’t taken down A&M in College Station since 2011, the Aggies’ last season in the Big 12. Now, with the Longhorns set to join the SEC in 2024, Tuesday’s contest will be a sample of what’s to come.
The 12th Man will catch its first glimpse of freshman LHP Shane Sdao starting on the mound following a productive 15.1 innings out of the bullpen across eight appearances this season, the second-most among relievers. The Montgomery native pitched 3.1 scoreless frames to Rice last week, allowing just two hits and a walk while lowering his ERA to 2.35. After moving fellow freshman LHP Justin Lamkin into the weekend rotation last week, coach Jim Schlossnagle hasn’t shied away from rearranging the pitch staff.
It won’t be an easy debut for Sdao, facing a Texas lineup that has found its footing on its win streak. After starting the year 4-7 and collectively hitting .235, the Longhorns have boosted that average to .325 with 25 home runs during the streak.
Redshirt junior UTL Peyton Powell has been a hidden gem for coach David Pierce since being made a starter this year, hitting .397 with five longballs, while redshirt junior LF and TCU transfer Porter Brown, a former protégé of Schlossnagle, carries a .360 average with six round-trippers. Redshirt senior CF Eric Kennedy has blasted seven home runs with a .356 average, in addition to being one of Texas’ speediest players.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Lebarron Johnson Jr. will trot out for the Longhorns as Pierce has done some experimenting with his pitching staff as well. After beginning the year as Texas’ midweek starter, Johnson made a Sunday start versus New Orleans on March 19 before returning to the Tuesday spot. With a 2-1 record and 2.96 ERA, his most impressive outing came in a 3-0 loss to LSU on Feb. 28 in which he threw five scoreless innings with just three hits and nine punchouts against a potent Tiger lineup.
Johnson will face an A&M lineup batting .268 and still looking to get some of its most experienced players in full gear. While junior SS Hunter Haas and junior 1B Jack Moss have found their groove with respective batting averages of .407 and .340, others have not followed suit. Junior UTL Ryan Targac and junior 3B Trevor Werner have fallen below the Mendoza Line of .200, and senior INF Austin Bost and senior CF Jordan Thompson carry averages of .250 and .218, respectively.
At last week’s media availability, Schlossnagle didn’t rule out the possibility of senior RF Brett Minnich returning to action after sustaining a broken hand in the first game of the season. Minnich hit .306 with seven homers last season.
First pitch between the Aggies and Longhorns is set for 6 p.m. While A&M looks to break out of a rut and Texas seeks to avenge last season’s loss to the Aggies in the College World Series, it’s hard to imagine any extra motivation will be needed in a rivalry such as this.

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