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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Phenomenal Prager

Aggies win 14th straight to start season behind Prager’s dominant outing
Photo by CJ Smith
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) pitches during A&M’s games against Rhode Island on Friday, March 8, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

It was a beautiful evening accompanied by great weather in College Station on Friday, March 8 when Texas A&M took on Rhode Island to begin the three-game weekend series.

After laboring their way to a 7-4 win on March 6 against Texas Southern, the Aggies won more comfortably against the Rams with a score of 11-0.

The entire first inning was all Maroon and White. Redshirt sophomore LHP Ryan Prager retired the frame on just nine pitches, recording a pair of strikeouts to go with it.

After freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac was hit by a pitch in the leadoff spot, junior RF Braden Montgomery drove him in with a one-out double, giving A&M a 1-0 lead.

Montgomery currently leads the SEC in runs batted in with 27. The next closest? His teammate, sophomore CF Jace LaViolette, with 21.

Hot starts have been the name of the game for the Aggies. The team has now scored in the first inning in 10 of its 14 games played so far this season.

“This is the best offense I’ve ever seen,” senior 2B Travis Chestnut said. “We have guys in the lineup that can win a ballgame in different ways.”

Despite an error from junior SS Ali Camarillo in the top of the second, Prager threw yet another scoreless frame where he struck out the side.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning, back-to-back doubles by Chestnut and Grahovac extended the lead for the Aggies at 2-0.

LaViolette and Montgomery both worked walks after Grahovac’s double, which left the bases loaded for graduate LF Hayden Schott. Schott took advantage, as he dunked a ball to left field and drove in a pair to make it 4-0 A&M.

Senior 1B Ted Burton tacked on another run for the Aggies with an RBI single, making the lead 5-0.

Prager continued to mow down the Rhode Island lineup. He pitched two more frames with no runs allowed in the third and fourth innings.

A&M continued to hit well with two outs. In the bottom of the third with two gone, Grahovac launched a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left field to make it 7-0.

Sophomore RHP Connor Grotyohann, who started the game for the Rams, would not finish the inning as a result. Redshirt sophomore RHP Brandon Hsu would replace him and end the inning.

The Aggies added another run in the fourth, with senior DH Hank Bard driving a single through the right side to score Burton from third.

A solo blast to left field off the bat of LaViolette in the bottom of the fifth made it 9-0 for A&M. It was LaViolette’s seventh home run of the year, which is tied for third-best in the SEC with Montgomery.

No matter what the Rams did, they couldn’t seem to hit anything Prager was throwing their way. The southpaw threw three more shutout innings after the fourth, and he ended his night after the top of the seventh with a whopping 13 strikeouts.

In addition, Prager did not walk nor hit any batters. He allowed only one hit and two total base runners.

“Talk about dominating the strike zone,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

A&M added another run in the seventh when freshman 3B Jack Bell, pinch hitting for Grahovac, drove in sophomore SS Kaeden Kent from second base after he pinch hit for Camarillo and doubled.

After freshman RHP Brett Antolick blanked the Rams in the top of the eighth, the Aggies added one more run in the home half of the inning after freshman OF Caden Sorrell scored from third on an E6.

Junior RHP Eldridge Armstrong III pitched the ninth for the Maroon and White, where he pitched a 1-2-3 inning to seal the 11-0 win for A&M.

The Aggies are now 14-0 to start the season and are now one of three remaining undefeated teams in the nation.

The team continues its series against Rhode Island on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m.

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