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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Wansing shines in Aggies’ shutout win against Volunteers

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore LHP Troy Wansing (19) pitches from the mound during Texas A&M’s game against Rice at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, March 4, 2023.

In the first round of the SEC Tournament, it takes one loss to send a team back home with the sting of defeat and a deflated morale.
Texas A&M baseball was not one of those teams, and sophomore LHP Troy Wansing made sure of it.
When A&M faced off against the University of Tennessee in March, the series ended with the maroon and white being swept in Knoxville, Tennessee. In Hoover, Alabama, the two teams met under different pretenses — to win a championship and build a resume for a potential College World Series bid.
As stated on the walls of Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and spoken throughout the conference, the matchup “just meant more,” especially for A&M’s red-hot offense, led by freshman RF Jace LaViolette.
LaViolette entered the tournament as a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team and the SEC Player of the Week after a monumental outing against Mississippi State last weekend. With three in Friday night’s matchup against the Bulldogs, LaViolette set a new Texas A&M freshmen record with 18 home runs on the season.
“It’s a game of failure, you’re not always going to succeed,” LaViolette said. “When you do succeed … you have to stay level, and that’s what I did — it helped me out a lot.”
Despite the Aggies’ offensive power, their inconsistent bullpen has done little to keep them in games long enough to use it. Wansing, on the mound for the team’s SEC tournament debut, had run into his own trouble throughout the season, with his last start lasting only 0.2 innings against Alabama earlier in May.
“Troy has been through a lot this year,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We’ve never lost belief in what he’s capable of doing.”
What Wansing was capable of doing was shutting down the Volunteers’ offense for eight innings, giving up just one hit.
“I struggled some this season, but I think today … it’s just like a combination of everything,” Wansing said. “It feels good to be able to go out there and do that.”
His dominant outing and shutout performance was characterized by seven strikeouts and zero walks, all while not allowing a single runner to reach scoring position.
“It kind of felt like everything came together today, and I just hope I can continue that kind of momentum and carry that into the postseason,” Wansing said.
With Wansing dealing on the mound and the team behind him playing near-perfect defense, the Fightin’ Farmers’ offense was able to comfortably and confidently gain and maintain momentum, with a fielder’s choice from junior 3B Trevor Werner scoring junior SS Hunter Haas in the third inning.
In the fourth frame, a well-timed single from senior 2B Austin Bost would score another run for the Aggies. LaViolette opened the sixth inning with a solo home run launched to right-center field, and A&M would take a 3-0 lead.
However, before the maroon and white could claim their victory, the drizzling rain that had been falling over the ballpark for the game’s entirety would turn into a heavy downpour, leading to the tarp being rolled onto the field. The matchup was delayed in the top of the ninth frame, with A&M up to bat with one out on the board.
The delay would last over two hours, and it placed the Aggies in a dangerous position. With only a three-run lead and a long pause to give the Vols time to discover a new gameplan, there was a chance that the game was far from over.
“We talk about having an hourglass — that was one of those moments where you were allowed to get out of your hourglass,” Wansing said. “But as soon as we knew when the game would start back up, it was time to get back in it and refocus.”
After the tarp was removed and staff worked diligently to remove the rain from the field, the game began once more.
The maroon and white quickly finished the top of the ninth inning with back-to-back flyouts and prepared for the bottom of the frame, in which they would need just three outs to advance to Round 2 of the SEC Tournament.
Relieving Wansing on the mound was junior LHP Evan Aschenbeck, who delivered a quick 1-2-3 inning and sent Tennessee back to the dugout and back to Knoxville. With a 3-0 lead, the Fightin’ Farmers earned the opportunity to stay another day in Hoover.
“This time of year, you’re either hot or good or both,” Schlossnagle said. “I think we’re solid, and these guys are playing with some confidence.”
However, the tournament is far from over for A&M. The team will face off against the University of Arkansas — another SEC competitor that swept the Aggies earlier this season — tomorrow afternoon to begin a double elimination series.
“There’s a championship to be won, and we’re a long way from that,” Schlossnagle said. “There’s a lot of baseball ahead … let’s just see what can happen tomorrow.”
A&M’s Round 2 matchup against the Razorbacks will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The game can be viewed on the SEC Network and listened to on the Varsity Network.

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