Monday Wednesday, friends! I trust this finds you well. And how could it not? The Aggie Basedballers finally got the band back together over the weekend! There were bubbles, massive bombs, and more Ball 5 chants than you can conceivably imagine.
The squad welcomed Seattle University. The Redhawks are a team chock full of experience, with hopes of shaking off a handful of subpar seasons in the WAC, having last won the conference in 2016. The Aggies, meanwhile, brought back a good chunk of last season’s team that finished a semifinalist for the first time in program history. The new faces came highly touted, with some much-anticipated.
It’s safe to say the offense didn’t exactly pick up where they left off at the end of last season. Lots of pressing going on, especially among that experienced core (unless your name is Jachary Moss, Professional Hitter). The good news is that those guys should get it figured out. There’s just too much talent to say otherwise.
Despite an early lack of fireworks, however, A&M’s uber-patient approach eventually wore down and overwhelmed the Seattle U pitching staff. The bats put up a total of 28 runs on 24 hits and 25 walks to just 15 Ks across the three games. That’s a solid output on the scoreboard and in the hit column, but it could be better. 25 walks is absolutely insane.
On the mound, Nate Yeskie’s pitching staff looked very good. All told, they allowed just 7 runs on 23 hits and 10 free passes, while striking out 32 batters. So while they dealt with a good amount of traffic on the bases, they generated a ton of swing-and-miss.
Lastly, one of the most important notes from the weekend: the Aggies committed just one (1) error the entire weekend, when true freshman pitcher Justin Lamkin threw one away on Saturday. Nary a miscue (documented, at least) by a position player. A&M’s biggest weakness last season was their propensity for kicking the ball around the yard. If they prove to have patched that hole, that could and should pay huge dividends throughout the season.
Friday: Texas A&M 8, Seattle U 2
- Jack Moss, Professional Hitter (JMPH) led the way, going 2-4 with a walk and 2 RBIs. Ryan Targac brought out the first bubbles of the season, with a two-run single in the fourth. Jace LaViolette, henceforth referred to as LaViolence (thank you, Raggies), picked up his first career hit and RBI in the eighth.
- Nathan Dettmer looked every bit of the ace of this staff through 4.2 innings, striking out eight and allowing just one hit to that point. Then, following three consecutive two-out singles (two of which didn’t make it past the infield grass), Dirty Dett gave way to USC transfer Carson Lambert. Lambert and Sam Houston transfer Matt Dillard gave up two runs on three hits the rest of the way.
- Unfortunately, Brett Minnich suffered a broken left hand in his first at-bat of the season, when he dove to attempt to beat out a play to first base. Schloss and his staff say that he’s out at least six weeks. This definitely sucks.
Saturday: Texas A&M 6, Seattle U 3
- Austin Bost (who’s definitely got you) got the Aggies’ scoring started, when he cut Seattle’s lead from 3-0 to 3-2 with the first WHAMMY of the season in the fourth. Then it became the LaViolence show. First he crushed one over the right field bleachers:
and the Aggies TAKE THE LEADDD pic.twitter.com/eLK207igXb— Texas A&M Baseball (@AggieBaseball) February 18, 2023
then he smacked one to the deepest part of the park:
another one for the freshman!— Texas A&M Baseball (@AggieBaseball) February 18, 2023
- Purdue transfer Troy Wansing made his Aggie debut in this one, giving up three runs on four hits and thee walks, while striking out seven in 3.1 innings. Mixed bag, for sure. The bullpen was fantastic, though, as Brad Rudis, true freshman Justin Lamkin, and Will Johnston shut the Redhawks out the rest of the way.
Sunday Funday: Texas A&M 14, Seattle U 2
- After a busy, yet ultimately unfruitful first inning, the Aggie bats broke things open with a six-spot in the second, with JMPH and LaViolence getting in on the action on a pair of RBI singles. Then in the eighth, Trevor Werner finally hit one that wasn’t directly at a fielder, when he smacked his first WHAMMY of the season to right-center. Not to be outdone, Ryan Targac reminded everyone that he, too, can hit the ball extremely far, going over the train tracks beyond right field to make it 11-2. The next three batters all reached to load the bases. Kaeden Kent then proceeded to send everyone home an inning early, with a walk-off, three-run triple to complete the 14-2 run-rule.
- On the mound, sophomore Chris Cortez was very good. In his 5.0 innings, he allowed two runs on six hits (all singles) and a walk, while striking out three batters. Freshman Shane Sdao and sophomore Robert Hogan went the rest of the way, combining for three innings of two-hit, shutout baseball.
BONUS (but not v fun) RECAP: Texas A&M 4, Lamar 7
While basically everyone in Aggieland and around college sports was focused on Reed Arena, where Boots and the boys gave Rick Barnes some new, fond memories, Aggie Baseball decided it was a good time to slip in their (hopefully) only early-season midweek loss to an in-state mid major. The wind was blowing out at around 30mph, which meant ample opportunity to smack the ball around. Instead, they managed just four runs on five hits. Is this the end of the world? Absolutely, according to the orange-tinted trolls on twitter. Kendall Rogers said on TexAgs Radio this morning that the Ags are going to get “everyone’s best shot”. But let’s be real; teams like Lamar, Prairie View, SFA, UT-Arlington, etc. are always trying to take down the big programs every time they play. That’s no excuse. Will this hurt A&M’s resume or anything down the road? Most likely not. Playing in the SEC, all that comes out in the wash. But that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying! See y’all Friday.