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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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Ring Day run rule

No. 3 Aggies run-rule No. 6 Commodores in dominant 15-0 victory
Photo by CJ Smith
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&M’s games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

It was Ring Day in Aggieland when No. 3 Texas A&M faced off against No. 6 Vanderbilt on Friday night in the first game of a three-game set.

The Commodores are the highest-ranked opponent the Aggies have played so far in 2024, giving coach Jim Schlossnagle and his team a big test on Family Weekend.

With this in mind, the Maroon and White decided to give the 7,351 fans at Olsen Field something to cheer for off the bat.

After a top of the first inning where redshirt sophomore LHP Ryan Prager tossed a scoreless frame with a pair of strikeouts to boot, sophomore CF Jace LaViolette and junior RF Braden Montgomery went back-to-back.

LaViolette crushed a 428 foot two-run homer to dead center field that sent the crowd into an uproar. Montgomery followed that up with a blast of his own, a 405-foot shot into Section 12 that gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead early.

“Great night for us at the plate,” Schlossnagle said. “Everything went our way.”

Montgomery, however, thought it wasn’t enough. In the next inning, he crushed another bomb, this one a three-run home run to center that went 426 feet to extend the lead to 6-0.

The Stanford transfer is now at a staggering 19 home runs on the year, which is currently the second-most in the SEC.

The Aggies’ offense was relentless all night long. The team scored in three of the first four innings, and they tallied nine hits to go with it. Junior RHP Bryce Cunningham, who started the game for the Commodores, was out of the game after the end of the fourth with A&M up 7-0.

Even after Cunningham left, the Aggies kept the scoring frenzy going. Senior 1B Ted Burton hit a two-run home run of his own out to right field in the bottom of the fifth, and senior 2B Travis Chestnut drove in a run off a sac fly that made it 10-0.

And just for safe measure, LaViolette sent a ball to left field that just snuck over the wall for a three-run homer, his second of the night. The inning finally came to an end with the Aggies up 13-0.

“I think this is the most fun game I’ve ever been a part of,” LaViolette said.

After the conclusion of the sixth inning where the Maroon and White added on two more runs, Prager ended the game in the seventh with a strikeout to give the Aggies the 15-0 victory.

Every Aggie hitter had at least one hit, and eight of the nine hitters had at least two hits. All of them reached base at least twice, and six of the hitters in the lineup had an RBI as well.

To say Prager was electric would be putting it lightly. The southpaw did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning when sophomore 2B Jayden Davis reached on an infield single.

In Prager’s shortened complete game shutout of seven innings, he allowed no runs and just four hits along with 10 punchouts.

“Being able to pitch more and be in the game longer, it feels great,” Prager said. “The ability to do that comes from our whole mantra of ‘dominate the zone.’”

Plenty of runs, incredible pitching and some fantastic web gems made this a night to remember for A&M and the fourth-biggest crowd at Olsen Field since 2012.

The Aggies will look to win the series against the Commodores in Game 2 on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.

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