In their final non-conference series before SEC play gets underway, the Aggies got punched in the mouth to start off the weekend. For the first time in 2019, their guy was seemingly off his game, while their opponent had everything working. Fortunately, they regrouped and took the final two games to secure their fourth consecutive winning weekend of the season.
It’s worth noting that most series in the SEC bring the challenge of facing a preseason All-American right out of the gate, much like A&M did this weekend. At the very least, the Ags hopefully learned the very-cliche-but-also-super-valuable lesson about taking things one game at a time. Bouncing back will be much more difficult in conference play, when teams have more than just one pitcher with a sub-3.50 ERA, but it’s better to learn that lesson before the SEC gauntlet begins. (Silver linings from a series victory! BAS! Woo!)
- John Doxakis did not have his best stuff on Friday night. The Zags (literally) came out swinging in the first inning, with the leadoff hitter lining out to short on the first pitch of the game. Dox then got BABIP’d to death. Two infield singles and a fly out later, a bloop single into shallow center and a ground ball just out of the reach of Bryce Blaum into right field gave Gonzaga a 2-0 lead. Though he settled down after that, Dox never fully recovered. In the third, the first two hitters reached, via a double and a HBP. Two failed double-play turns sandwiched around another grounder through the right side yielded Gonzaga’s third run. In total, Dox gave up three runs (all earned) on seven hits, no walks, and only two punchouts in just 4.0 innings of work.
- Offensively, A&M mounted a late rally, which put them in position to conjure some Olsen Magic. Before that, however, the Ags were unable to capitalize against Gonzaga’s starter, Casey Legumina. Legumina tossed 5.0 shutout innings, striking out five, but the Aggies put traffic on the basepaths in every inning. They finally broke through with two runs in the sixth on a two-out, solo homer from Hunter Coleman and an RBI single to left from Ty Coleman. In the eighth, a Will Frizzell RBI single to right and a Logan Foster RBI double down the right field line added two more, cutting the deficit to 6-4. With the tying run on second and two outs, however, Braden Shewmake was unable to cash in, grounding out to second to end the inning.
- Asa Lacy got his usual Saturday start, and per usual, he was excellent. In 6.0 innings, Lacy gave up just one unearned run on three hits, two walks, a HBP, and seven strikeouts. Dustin Saenz came on in relief to start the seventh inning, and closed the game out with 3.0 strong innings of one-run baseball.
- The offense got things started with a bang in the first. Bryce Blaum hit his third leadoff WHAMMY of the season. Mikey Hoehner added another run with an RBI single to left field, giving the Ags a 2-0 lead after the first inning. They then erupted for a seven-spot in the fourth. Three straight singles from Hoehner and the Coleman brothers pushed the lead to 3-1, before Jonathan Ducoff belted a three-run bomb to left to make it 6-1. A Blaum RBI single and a Shewmake two-run double capped off the inning, giving the Aggies a 9-1 edge. The bats went off again in the eighth. With one out and bases juiced, Hunter Coleman drew a walk to make it 10-2 Ags. Not to be outdone, Ty Coleman crushed one over the wall in left for his first grand slam as an Aggie to make it 14-2.
- Christian Roa took the ball to start this one, and he pitched very well. In a career-long 4.1 innings, Roa allowed just one run on five hits and no walks, while striking out four. The lone run came in the second inning, when Gonzaga’s Ryan Sullivan, who came into the weekend with a 1.248 OPS (lol), finally got ahold of one for a solo shot to left. Moo Menefee came on in relief of Roa in the fifth, and from there, he, Bryce Miller, and Kasey Kalich combined to allow just three hits, one walk, and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings of shutout baseball.
- At the plate, everything flowed through Allonte Wingate. With the Ags down 1-0 in the second, Hoehner walked and Ty Coleman singled to left center field. A balk advanced the runners to second and third with two outs, before Wingate drove both home on a single down the line in right. Then in the seventh, Ty Coleman singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Wingate followed that up with an RBI single to give the Aggies a 3-1 lead.
The Aggies hit the road on Tuesday, as they head up to Dallas Baptist for the first time ever. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 pm.