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Texas vs Texas A&M Preview

Texas A&M and Texas will be renewing their annual midweek rivalry on March 5th. While many midweek games are overlooked, no one in the Lonestar State will miss the significance of this matchup.

On the surface the Longhorns and Aggies going in opposite directions. Texas returned to Austin beaten and bruised from a tough weekend in Houston. Friday Night, in front of the largest attended college baseball game at Minute Maid Park, the Horns were bested 6-3. While this might not seem like a blowout, the horns added 2 with 2 outs in the 9th to make it respectable. At the plate the horns struck out 20 times. Thomas and Flores, two of the hottest horns hitters went a combines 1-8 with 6k’s. From a pitching standpoint, Lebarron Johnson labored through this start. Lots of long AB’s led to him being chased in the 4th after 91 pitches. This forced David Pierce to use his bullpen early and really set them behind the 8 ball. Charley Hurley added to this saturday as he was chased in the 2nd Against Texas State allowing 4 runs. While the Texas battled and got the horns back into it, David Shaw was unable to hold the lead and the Horns fell. Then Sunday, we saw more of the same as the horns got out to a big early lead before the bullpen blew it. While the Longhorns did score 11 runs, they went scoreless the final 5 innings.

For Texas A&M, it was a series where everything went right. They played 3 in Arlington against USC and Arizona, and left the same way they came in, undefeated. Friday night the effort of Ryan Prager and Evan Aschenbeck combined to shutout the Red Hot Sun Devil offense. Braden Montgomery had a first inning opposite field homerun that was all the Aggies would need. Saturday while the offense started slow, it came on strong late with 9 runs. The depth of the Aggie lineup shined as all of the first six batters recorded hits. The Aggies also walked 10 times in route to a 9-3 victory. Sunday the Aggies jumped out to an early lead and never waivered. The won 10-5

Now onto Tuesday. 

Texas A&M Starter: Either Cortes or Shane Sdao. 

While Cortes has drawn the previous two midweeks and has looked good, there is always the command issues. Shane Sdao pitched sunday in mop up duty and looked effective striking out the side in order in the 9th. Expect him to pickup the slack Cortes leaves behind. 

Texas A&M Bullpen: With RIU this weekend, expect to see the key bullpen arms of Aschenbeck and Moss. Aschenbeck threw Friday and has been Coach Schlossnagle’s “left hand man” since arriving on campus in the fall of 2023. He is a crafty lefty that loves to pound the zone. Friday the horns struggled on the breaking balls from lefty Nate Ackhausen, Aschenbeck is the Texas A&M version in this staff. Dark Horse:Last year we saw Lucas Gordan for an inning and in 2022 we saw Michah Dallas slam the door in the 9th. It would not shock me to see Prager pitch an inning, 

Texas Starter: Tanner Witt. 

They play Texas Tech this weekend so they will likely save their arms. Max Grubb started last week in the midweek and struggled so expect to see either him or Tanner Witt, both pitchers pitched over the weekend (2 innings 33 pitches for Witt Friday, 1.1 27 pitches on Saturday for Grubb).

Texas Bullpen: This one is a little harder to predict for Texas as Coach Pierce has the challenge of saving his arms for Texas Tech as well as having expensed his entire bullpen this past weekend. Expect to see Grubb pitch in either the 3rd or 4th. Andre Duplantier is another name we will like see as he threw only 21 pitches Friday. Heston Tole is another name to watch out. We will likely see 7 arms throws 1 inning for the Horns.  

Texas A&M Lineups:

A&M. 11 games in we know a majority of the spots are set in stone. The top of the lineup has shined early and many are calling Jace LaViolett and Braden Montgomery the best duo in Texas A&M history. 

Schloss has employed a tandem of Bard and Appel over the weekend. Hank Bard has been the unexpected star for the Aggies. Coach Schlossnagle raved about his bat all fall and the early returns as good. In limited action he is 4-8 with a double and a homerun. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Max Kaufer play as he has been out of the lineup a good amount. His last start came against Wagner on Sunday. 

Burton, Binderup, Kent and Targac are 4 guys with 3 spots (2nd,1st and DH) Jack Bell has also shined and Schloss has used him quite a bit. Expect to see either Targac or Kent at second, while the other pitch hits at some point.

Names to circle: Jace LaViolette, Braden Montgomery and Hayden Schott. 

Texas Lineups:Kimble Schuessler appears to have won the Catching job over Rylan Galvan.He’s shined over the weekend and I don’t see Pierce making a change. He started his career at Texas A&M all the back in 2021 under the last regime and has patiently waited his turn in what has been a talented catching room at Texas. He is slashing .429 and on a nice little 9 game hitting streak.

Max Belyeu is the name to watch as he’s had a breakout weekend. He started the season 0-9 with 4 k’s. He rebounded nicely with a homerun Saturday against Texas State. Sunday Against Vandy he reached base 4 times. Gasparino had a forgettable weekend in Houston, but watch for him to breakout. While he has a longer swing, it generates nice torque and he has an elite eye at the dish that is beyond his class

Names to circle: Porter Brown and Jared Thomas.

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