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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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Swamp shootout

Aggies lose first game of the year in SEC opener against Gators in Florida, 8-6
Photo by Hannah Harrison
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After freshman LF Caden Sorrell worked a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning on Tuesday night to give No. 4 Texas A&M the 9-8 win over Sam Houston, it moved the team to its first 17-0 start since 2015 as they headed into SEC play.

But even with the team’s red-hot start to the season, its next opponent would not be an easy one.

In its first SEC series of the 2024 season, A&M took on No. 8 Florida, the highest ranked team the Maroon and White have faced so far this year. Florida laid claim to victory in Game 1, winning 8-6 on Friday night.

Similar to its last few games, A&M’s pitching struggled in this one, except this time Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager, who came into the game with a 0.00 ERA,allowed runs for the first time this season. The southpaw pitched 2.1 innings, giving up six runs, seven hits and one strikeout.

The first inning was, by A&M’s standards this year, unorthodox. The team was retired in order in the top of the first, and Prager allowed two of his first six runs in the bottom of the inning.

Usually, it’s been the Aggies doing damage in the first inning this year as A&M has scored in the first in 13 of 18 games played this year.

Prager also allowed three home runs, including a pair to junior 1B Jac Caglianone. He was replaced by junior RHP Chris Cortez with one out and two runners on in the third inning.

Cortez put forth a solid effort in relief of Prager. He pitched 4.0 innings and allowed two runs, and he tallied eight punch-outs to go with it. The two runs proved to be significant, however, as they would be the last two runs Florida scored to propel them to a win.

Cortez was assigned the loss and is now 2-1 on the season.

Junior RHP Brad Rudis relieved Cortez in the seventh with one out, and he collected the final two to keep the score 8-6 Gators. Freshman RHP Weston Moss pitched a scoreless eighth inning in relief.

The Aggie pitching staff has now allowed a combined 27 runs over its last three games. Prior to that, the team’s highest number of runs allowed in a game was five against Arizona State.

Offensively, the Aggies started off hot but cooled down as the game went on. The team put up a five-spot in the second inning after the Gators took a 2-0 lead, including a three-run bomb off the bat of freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac, who now has five homers this season.

The Gators responded in the third inning with four runs of their own. Senior LF Tyler Shelnut powered a three-run home run of his own out to center field to give Florida the lead back, 6-5.

Senior C Jackson Appel hit a solo home run to left field to tie it up again in the top of the fourth, but that would wrap up the scoring for A&M in this game.

Florida’s pitching staff tossed five consecutive scoreless frames, leading it to its 8-6 victory over the Maroon and White.

The series continues on Saturday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. as the Aggies look to even the score against the Gators. Junior RHP Tanner Jones will get the start for A&M.

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