Story Poster
Jim Schlossnagle
Jace LaViolette
Texas A&M Baseball

LaViolette pilots No. 1 A&M past Air Force with pair of two-run HRs

April 16, 2024
11,628

Game #37: No. 1 Texas A&M 15, Air Force 5 (7 innings)
Records: Texas A&M (33-4, 11-4), Air Force (15-20, 8-6)
WP: Brad Rudis (2-0)
LP: Bowen Brantingham (1-2)
Box Score


First one as No. 1.  

Texas A&M, the nation’s newest top-ranked team, run-ruled Air Force 15-5 in seven innings on Tuesday night at Blue Bell Park.

Last meeting in 1972, Tuesday marked the first time the Falcons made their way to College Station.

Though A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said his squad always respects their opponents, the Aggies made it a point to show extra respect this time around.

“It's just such an honor to just get to be in the presence of young men like that,” Schlossnagle said. 

Jace LaViolette echoed the same sentiments.

“I have so much respect for those people over there,” LaViolette said. “They’re doing something unbelievable that none of us can even imagine doing every single day. They’re serving our country, and they’re going to serve our country. It’s just an unbelievable thing to think about.” 

However, the Aggies didn’t let the opponent prevent them from playing the way they do.

They also didn’t disappoint after a top-10 sweep of Vanderbilt.

“I think we’ve proven our response with our record,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s not being elitist or anything, it's just this team has proven it’s mature.” 

LaViolette led the way at the plate for A&M, collecting four hits, two via the long ball, and coming up just a double short of the cycle.

“I have so much respect for those people over there. They’re doing something unbelievable that none of us can even imagine doing every single day. They’re serving our country, and they’re going to serve our country. It’s just an unbelievable thing to think about.” 
- A&M OF Jace LaViolette

His first homer, a two-run shot 468-feet to right field, opened the scoring.

“Those swings, you don’t really feel anything,” LaViolette said. “I don’t know how to describe it.” 

Needing a double in his second to last at-bat for a cycle, LaViolette decided to hit another home run instead. 

“I think I’d stick with what the outcome was,” LaViolette joked postgame. “I don’t mind that swing at all, especially left-on-left.” 

Despite playing a scrappy Falcon ballclub, A&M pulled away in the later innings. 

The game was knotted 3-3 before the Maroon & White exploded for eight unanswered runs in two innings, highlighted by a six-run fifth.

A pair of runs in the fourth broke the tie. LaViolette hit a hard ground ball into the right-field corner for an RBI triple. Two batters later, Ted Burton drove in LaViolette with a base hit up the middle. 

Then, in the next inning, the floodgates broke open.

Travis Chestnut led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error and then used heads-up base-running to move to third on a sac-bunt by Max Kaufer.

Chestnut came into score as Gavin Grahovac laced a single to right-center. 

Following a single from LaViolette, Braden Montgomery, who followed LaViolette’s first-inning home run with a solo shot, hit a ball right in front of the catcher, who proceeded to launch the ball into center field.

Will Huffman, TexAgs
With two home runs on Tuesday, Jace LaViolette recorded the 10th multi-homer performance of his career.

Attempting to get the forceout at second, two runs came in to score on the throwing error. 

An infield single from Burton scored LaViolette before Hayden Schott smashed a double off the center-field wall, scoring two more runs. Schott scored the final run of the inning as Caden Sorrell reached on a fielder’s choice, preventing the third out. 

Holding a sizable lead, the Aggies had the opportunity to showcase their depth by giving many players a chance to shine on the mound and in the lineup.

A&M’s two-way freshman Jett Johnston made his pitching debut, allowing a run on two hits in 1.1 innings. Freshman Kaiden Wilson made a relief appearance for the first time since Feb. 23 against Wagner. 

Wilson allowed a run on two hits while picking up a strikeout in an inning of work. 

Jack Bell also entered the game in the later innings, showing his defensive versatility by playing second base before moving to third later on.

Bell also launched a solo home run into the Section 12 bleachers in the seventh inning. 

In the sixth, Blake Binderup made his first plate appearance since March 17 at Florida, working a walk. 

Freshman Justin Vossos also got in on the action, beating out an infield single in his lone at-bat. 

Will Huffman, TexAgs
Improving to 33-4, Texas A&M has now recorded its best start since 2015.

Still trying to find a fourth starting pitcher, the Aggies started freshman Weston Moss on the mound, who was coming off a solid performance in his last two outings against Auburn and South Carolina.

“We were trying to find a fourth starter,” Schlossnagle said. “We’ve given [Isaac] Morton a few chances, [Luke] Jackson a few chances and today was Weston Moss.” 

However, Moss’ stuff wasn’t as sharp as seen in his last appearance, and he only lasted 1.2 innings before being relieved. Luckily for the Aggies, the bullpen was more than up to the task of helping secure the victory.

“It wasn’t the Weston Moss we saw against Auburn,” Schlossnagle said. “So just trying to find that guy that we’re going to need if we’re in the postseason, to pitch in a conference tournament, or a losers bracket game in a regional or a College World Series.” 

With the win, the Aggies improved to 33-4 on the season, protecting the No. 1 in front of their name. 

The Maroon & White will travel to Tuscaloosa and begin a three-game series on Thursday with Alabama, who took two out of three from the previous No. 1-team, Arkansas, last weekend.

Discussion from...

LaViolette pilots No. 1 A&M past Air Force with pair of two-run HRs

7,625 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Noctilucent
Randy Rhodes
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This team is so much fun
cageybee77
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AggieRain
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Noctilucent
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AG
Great win, Ags! Absolutely love the respect for the military too!
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