Bsseball vs. LSU

Freshman INF Kaeden Kent (3) gets ready to throw the baseball to first base for an out at Olsen Field on Friday, March 17, 2023.

Those that came postgame were the only fireworks witnessed at Olsen Field as the No. 15 Texas A&M baseball team mustered up little on offense as it fell to top-ranked LSU 9-0 on Friday, March 17. The Aggies tallied just four hits while facing junior RHP Paul Skenes, one of the top pitchers in college baseball. In total, A&M struck out 15 times.

Skenes left the matchup with a win, improving his record to 5-0 and lowering his earned run average to an astounding 0.59 on the season. The Air Force transfer utilized a fastball that hit 100 mph to fan 11 Aggies and walk none in 6.1 scoreless innings of work.

“Everything I saw on video remained to be true,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I thought we fought with him as best we could. I’ve been doing this 33 years — [Stephen] Strasburg, Mark Prior, Paul Skenes — those are the best I’ve ever seen. So thankfully it’s not softball, where he doesn’t get to pitch everyday.”

The Tigers were met on the mound by junior RHP Nathan Dettmer, who was given the difficult task of containing a potent LSU lineup that carried a .338 batting average into the contest. The Tigers’ order featured the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft in junior center fielder Dylan Crews, as well as sophomore third baseman and NC State transfer Tommy White, freshman designated hitter Jared Jones and senior second baseman Gavin Dugas.

Given the challenge, Dettmer turned in a solid six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks while striking out five. Instead of the typical extra-base hit barrage that LSU tends to beat teams with, the purple and gold bested the maroon and white with hard-hit singles.

“They just took advantage of mistakes,” Dettmer said. “It’s a good hitting team, and I just put myself in a hole ... The ultimate goal, it doesn't matter who’s in the jersey, who’s in the other dugout, it’s just to be the same person.”

The Tigers jumped on Dettmer early in the top of the first, as junior first baseman Tre’ Morgan and Crews each notched singles before White drew a walk to load the bases. Dugas then flew a 3-1 offering to right field for a sacrifice fly, plating the game’s first run. Right after, sophomore left fielder Josh Pearson singled up the middle to score Crews and make it 2-0 LSU early on.

Morgan and Crews lived up to their billing by leading off the third with a single and double, respectively, before Crews raced home on a Dettmer wild pitch. White then singled to left field to plate Morgan, one of the game’s top first basemen, and make it 4-0 ballgame.

The Bayou Bengals padded their lead in the ninth, facing senior RHP and USC transfer Carson Lambert. A double by freshman right fielder Paxton Kling, a Morgan HBP and Crews walk loaded the bases for White’s single to center field, scoring two. Dugas was then grazed by a pitch to put three ducks on the pond with no outs, as Pearson earned a base on balls of his own to put LSU up 7-0.

Jones proceeded to knock a RBI sacrifice fly before junior catcher Alex Milazzo recorded an RBI groundout to give the Tigers a 9-0 cushion.

A&M failed to force any significant pressure on the offensive end with four hits and three walks. Senior second baseman Austin Bost, junior designated hitter Ryan Targac and freshman third baseman Kaeden Kent went hitless, while Bost and Targac each struck out three times. Trailing 4-0, the Aggies had their best scoring opportunity in the eighth with two runners in scoring position with two outs, but a foulout ended the frame.

“Right now, the level of play in this conference is at an all-time high,” Schlossnagle said. “You’d better be able to respond to adversity because if you’re not, it’ll snowball on you real quick.”

A&M will look to even the series on Saturday as it faces LSU at 2 p.m. at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Sophomore LHP Troy Wansing will start on the mound for the Aggies, while junior RHP Ty Floyd will get the nod for the Tigers.

“It’s all about response, and I know this team, and after a tough body blow like that, I know that for a fact we’re gonna respond,” junior first baseman Jack Moss said. “That’s all this team has ever done since I’ve been here is respond to adversity, and we’re gonna do the exact same tomorrow.”

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