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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

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion, 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Strategic instinct

 
 

The sport of baseball boils down to a simple duel between pitcher and batter. The debate between each positions importance has captured the attention of generations under Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress, the decision is crystal clear.
Prior to 2005, the Texas A&M baseball program was focused around the offensive side of this matchup, a choice made by then-head coach Mark Johnson. His teams featured powerful hitters throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, which drew increased attendance and energy to Olsen Field.
Taking over the program in 2006 was Johnsons polar opposite, Rob Childress, a pitching-centric manager with intentions of reconstructing A&M baseball with a stronger defensive edge.
Seven seasons and one College World Series appearance later, Aggie baseball rolls into the Southeastern Conference under Childress leadership. A&M has evolved into one of the strongest defensive programs in the NCAA, building winning seasons off the arms of its pitchers rather than the swings of its bats.
Under his watch, 26 pitchers have been selected in the MLB draft including two in the first round. The program resurfaced immediately in the Big 12 as well, securing four conference titles in the last six years and advancing to the postseason every year since 2007.
Despite the Aggie offense virtually falling off the map, Childress and A&M have dropped below .500 only once since his arrival and have topped 40 games or more in every winning season except for 2009s 37.
Childress success with pitching staffs also holds true outside of Olsen Field. As the pitch coach at Nebraska from 1998 to 2005, Childress helped his staff score in the top five single-season strikeout records in school history. In his final year with the Cornhuskers, he helped them attain a 2.69 earned run average, best in the Big 12 and Top Five nationally.
How did Childress completely overhaul a program rooted in over two decades of a contrasting strategy in only a single season?
According to Childress, his program has been blessed with talent from across the state. With a strong recruiting presence in Texas, A&M baseballs pitching prestige has risen considerably under Childress.
I think we’ve been real fortunate in the recruiting process, Childress said. We’ve had a lot of talented guys in here. And good players make good coaches, and good pitchers make good pitching coaches. We’ve had an awful lot of talent in here in the time that I’ve been here.
Battling in-state rival Texas for recruits, a program that searches for a balanced roster, according to head coach Augie Garrido, Childress used his specific focus on pitching to reel in the top throwers consistently.
In the Aggies most recent class of nine signees, Childress picked up five pitchers to complement his already loaded bullpen, including three tabbed as Top 10 in-state talents.
The trend is constant throughout his tenure at A&M, showing an extreme emphasis on finding what Childress calls players that best fit his program pitchers.
The direction of A&Ms baseball program and its success along that route have demonstrated that, despite a lack of excitement and offense, consistency has remained intact, and there is no sign of a derailment any time soon.
Around the nation, the debate between which position rules the sport pitchers or batters will continue to rage, but at Texas A&M the decision is clear. Childress has constructed a monument to the art of pitching on Olsen Field, one prepared to weather offenses from around the conference.

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