The Fightin’ Texas Aggies swept through the Shriners College Classic this past weekend, taking home three wins against a few old Southwest Conference mates in impressive fashion and improving their record to 11-2. This marks just the second time ever that A&M has gone undefeated in their 10 trips to Minute Maid Park, with the other coming in 2015.
Coming into the tournament, the Ags faced some tough questions. Having dropped two of their last three, their biggest test of the early season loomed. The upcoming slate included two ranked opponents, in then-No. 15 Baylor and then-No. 18 TCU, and a Houston team that’s had a rough start to the season. Easily the most talented teams on the schedule thus far.
The Aggies responded with three hard-fought wins, using some elite-level pitching and stingy defense to open a few eyes this weekend and instill some much needed confidence. Offensive production is still a concern, but this pitching staff proved this weekend that they can win A&M a whole lot of games.
Something to watch for in the next few days, however, is the status of freshman Sunday starter, Jonathan Childress, who left his start early with an apparent injury to his throwing arm.
Prior to his exit, Childress was dealing. This is a tough pill to swallow, for sure, and we hope that Childress’ injury is less severe, as a UCL injury could mean losing Childress for the rest of the season.
- Staff Ace John Doxakis was unbelievable in this one. He allowed a leadoff double to the game’s first batter, who eventually came around to score on a sac fly for Dox’s first earned run of the season, but Dox quickly settled down. His 8.0 innings of work tied a career high, as did his 12 (#BRAND) strikeouts. He also issued a whopping zero walks. Pure dominance from the junior lefty.
- Offensively, the Ags answered Baylor’s first inning run just about as quickly as possible, when Bryce Blaum smacked the first pitch he saw into the Crawford Boxes in left for a leadoff WHAMMY. In the fourth, the Aggies took their first lead of the weekend when, with a man on first, Braden Shewmake deposited a 1-0 offering over the wall in left for his first homer of the season to give the Ags a 3-1 lead. They added two more in the frame to push the lead to 5-1, which was all that Doxakis would need.
- Not to be outdone by his predecessor, Asa Lacy allowed just one hit across his 7.0 innings, while walking three, hitting two, and striking out nine. TCU got the lead man on base in the first six innings, but Lacy kept the (not) Frogs off the board with a couple of double plays (including one of the strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out variety).
- The Ags’ lone run came in the third, when a single and a couple of walks loaded the bases for Logan Foster with one out. Foster then drew a full-count walk to bring home Allonte Wingate from third.
- Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the game between A&M and TCU ended in exciting fashion. With two out and a man on first, TCU’s Alex Isola smashed a line drive destined for the gap in right-center, when Blaum did this:
Nothing but respect for MY president.
- Jonathan Childress decided he wanted to join in on the starters’ dominance, and started this one off with three hitless innings. Following his departure before the fourth, Chandler Jozwiak, Bryce Miller, Joseph Menefee, and Christian Roa took this one home for the Ags. The foursome combined for two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks, while striking out seven. Pitching depth is v fun.
- Foster got the scoring started in the fourth with an RBI double down the line in left. Blaum did his thing again in the fifth, batflipping the Ags to a 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth, Aaron Walters grounded into a double play, which scored the Ags’ final run of the night and pushed their lead to 3-1. That run proved useful, as the Coogs tacked on a run in the bottom half of the frame.
The Aggies return to the friendly confines on Tuesday and Wednesday for a couple of midweek tilts with Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and Abilene Christian, respectively. First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 6:32 pm. See y’all at Olsen!