Heading into this past weekend, Schloss & The Boys were set to encounter their first legitimate, name-brand competition of the young season. They were coming into Houston having demolished a bad HCU team, yes, but the week prior was bad; almost catastrophically so. Three games at Minute Maid Park against Louisville, Rice, and Texas Tech seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Aggies to kick things back into gear.
They immediately ran into a buzz saw in Louisville (the eventual champion of the tournament), who raced out to a six-run lead before A&M recorded their first hit of the weekend. Following an eight-run fifth inning, the Cardinals looked poised to run-rule the Ags out of the stadium, out of the polls, and out of college baseball discussion altogether. In the seventh, they scratched a couple across to make it 14-2, before Austin Bost stepped up with two on and two outs. So of course,
The 12th Man of Aggie Baseball smacked a two-out, two-strike breaking ball to the Crawford Boxes to beat the proverbial buzzer, which cut the deficit to 14-5 and extended the game beyond the seventh inning. They didn’t end up scoring any more runs for the rest of the game, but that swing at least saved A&M a shred of dignity. At most, it could be the swing that turned the season around.
The next night, the Ags trounced Rice with the same formula Louisville used on them in game one. They put up crooked numbers in the first four frames, and run-ruled the Owls 13-1 in seven innings. Outstanding response to game one.
In the finale, the Aggies took part in a street fight of a pitchers duel with Texas Tech. A&M had a runner reach third base in four of the first five innings, but they couldn’t bring anybody home until Bost finally broke the seal with a one-out RBI single (*taps the sign*). That one run is all they would get until the ninth inning. Meanwhile, starter Chris Cortez and the pitching staff kept the Red Raiders largely in check, scattering three singles and three walks through five innings. Tech took the lead in the sixth on a two-out, two-run single, and threatened again in the seventh, before Will Johnston shut them down with a pair of strikeouts.
Facing a losing weekend square in the eye in ninth, the Aggies mustered a comeback through the power of friendship and Ball 5 chants. They walked the bases loaded with two outs, and scored the tying-run on Ball 8. A&M eventually won it in the 16th, marking the longest game by innings in Shriners history. The kind of hard-fought win that can fuel an in-season turnaround.
- Friday, Louisville 14, Texas A&M 5: Nathan Dettmer had probably his worst outing of his Aggie career, giving up six runs (four earned) in 2.0+ innings, only striking out one of the 13 batters he faced.
- Saturday, Texas A&M 13, Rice 1 (7 innings): Troy Wansing was excellent in his 5.0 shutout innings, giving up just four hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Five Ags tallied multi-hit games, with four of those guys also knocking in multiple runs.
- Sunday, Texas A&M 4, Texas Tech 2 (16 innings): Aggie pitchers racked up 23 punch outs against just seven walks in this one. Compare that to the hitters, who drew 16 walks. A&M currently ranks fourth in the country in total walks drawn, with 93, and have done so in fewer games than the three teams ahead of them. Also worth noting: from the Bost RBI single until Jace LaViolette led off the 16th with a single, A&M did not record a hit. Meaning they got no-hit for the duration of an entire typical baseball game, and still won.
The Aggies host Incarnate Word tonight at 6:00 pm at The Corner™®©, before heading back down to Houston tomorrow to take on Rice (again) at Reckling Park at 7:00 pm. They’ll have one final tune up series this weekend against Northern Kentucky before LSU comes to town to kick off SEC play. It’s important that they finally find a way to get the offense going consistently, and this past weekend should absolutely provide a good foundation. See y’all at Olsen!