THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15 | SERVING TEXAS A&M SINCE 1893 | © 2018 STUDENT MEDIA
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Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
Junior Stephen Kolek will throw the first pitch of the 2018 season.
Aggie baseball hopes to continue its prosperity on the diamond with another successful season By Ryan MacDonald @Ryan_MacDonald2 It’s baseball season in Aggieland, and No. 10 Texas A&M has their eyes set on a return to the College World Series. The Aggies will kick off their season with a three game homestand against Rhode Island. First pitch for the games will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. The Aggies will roll out a lineup that includes preseason
sophomore All-American Braden Shewmake, who is making his debut at the shortstop position after playing second base last season for the first time in his career. “It’s going about as good as I think it can go,” Shewmake said. “I feel a lot better than I did in the fall. If we just get better everyday then we’re going to be in a good position once the season rolls around.” Shewmake made the move to allow junior Michael Helman to play second base. This will be Helman’s first season with the Aggies, as he transferred from Hutchinson Community College. On the other side of second base is preseason AllSEC third baseman George Janca, who finished last season batting .261. “Our infield has been a strong point for us all fall,” Shewmake said. “Playing alongside George is a lot of fun, he keeps
it loose but he gets his business done.” The Aggie bullpen will look to be a strong point of the team with the surprising return of senior pitchers Kaylor Chafin and Cason Sherrod, both of whom were drafted in the 2017 MLB Draft. Head coach Rob Childress announced that junior pitcher Stephen Kolek will take the bump on Friday, freshman Chandler Jozwiak will get it on Saturday and junior Mitchell Kilkenny gets the nod on Sunday. “They’ve done an amazing job for us,” Childress said. “They’ve been very consistent, I feel like they really give us the best chance to get off to a good start.” Childress said the return of Chafin and Sherrod, who will
Health junior Meagan Banowsky was one of over 22,000 students who participated in The 2017 Big Event.
BASEBALL ON PG. 3
Cristian Aguirre — THE BATTALION
With four games left in the 2017-2018 regular season, No. 17 A&M hosts Florida.
The Big Event cleans up Aggieland Faceoff with the Gators A&M’s largest service project is nearing its deadline for students to register to help By Kenya Robinson & Taylor Fennell @_KenyaJ & @TaylorPFennell The Big Event, the largest one-day service project run by students in the nation, focuses on giving back to the residents in the Bryan-College Station community through various service projects. This year’s Big Event will kick off on March 24 and students can register to participate until Friday, Feb. 16. According to Trent Armstrong, accounting senior and director of this year’s Big Event, The Big Event is a chance to act on Texas A&M’s core value of selfless service. Armstrong said the purpose of The Big Event is to assist as many residents as possible. “I really just came to realize The Big Event represents much more than how many leaves we rake, or how many windows we wash,” Armstrong said. “What it truly means is to do something for someone else, and that small act can really make big differences. The Big Event is much more than the one day, but this idea that we are here to serve others, just kind of a way to give back” Lauren Birtcher, recruitment officer and statistics junior, said the executive staff is trying to beat last year’s record of 22,000 registered volunteers. “This year, we are really trying to spread to all corners of campus, because there may be organizations that might not have heard of [The Big Event,]” Birtcher said. “Typically, people don’t do it, not because
they don’t want to, but because they don’t know about it. So we look at freshman and graduate students. They especially didn’t know that they could participate and didn’t know what it was. This year, we added bus advertisements just to try and put something out there to let people know who don’t really see it.” Armstrong said The Big Event has made a noticeable impact worldwide, in countries such as China, Pakistan, Costa Rica and Germany. “The Big Event started in 1982 and it has grown leaps and bounds to become the largest student run project in the world,” Armstrong said. “The idea has spread to over 175 universities nationwide and spread internationally. So what started here with Aggies really transformed universities and college towns across the world.” Kyle O’Brien, economics senior and programs executive, said his first year participating in The Big Event left an incredible impression and inspired him to continue helping the community. “Our whole mission statement is to say thank you to the community,” O’Brien said. “This is a opportunity for us to do that. Just coming in as a freshman, I kind of heard about it and was just encouraged by older people to get into it. My Big Event moment was the day of The Big Event and just seeing how big of an experience it is.” Students can register to participate in The Big Event through their organizations, with friends or as individuals. The deadline to sign up is Friday, Feb. 16. The registration form can be found online at thebigevent.tamu.edu.
A&M women’s basketball kicks off their last four game stretch of the regular season with the Breast Cancer Awareness game By Dylan Poitevint @Poitite Looking to bounce back after Sunday’s loss to LSU on the road, No. 17 Texas A&M will face Florida on Thursday at Reed Arena for the Aggies’ annual BTHO Breast Cancer Game. A&M’s record is 19-7 overall and 8-4 in conference play. Thursday’s game will begin the four game stretch to end the season before the SEC Tournament kicks off on Feb. 28. According to A&M head coach Gary Blair, this four game stretch will be crucial to the Aggies positioning in both conference and national rankings. Besides the slight sense of urgency noted that his team needs to win, Blair said they will take their schedule one game at a time. “We’ve just got to take care of business,” Blair said. “For us to have a chance to get in the top four [in the SEC], I think we have to go 4-0, but to go 4-0 you’ve got to go 1-0 and that’s taking care of business against Florida.” Despite the loss to LSU in a nail-biter on Sunday, Blair said he is optimistic about his team’s ability to bounce back, especially the younger players on the roster, including freshman guard Chennedy Carter. “Chennedy is learning this is what it’s all about,” Blair said. “Remember how bad [TJ] Starks played at the beginning of the year? Well look how good he’s playing now. Look at our freshmen quarterbacks, look at all freshmen. We’re learning.” Blair said despite Carter’s struggles against the Tigers, she has established herself as one of the top freshmen players in the country. W. BASKETBALL ON PG. 2
The Battalion | 2.15.18
W. BASKETBALL CONTINUED
Photos by Cristian Aguirre — THE BATTALION
“So she’s had two bad ball games against LSU, so what? Let’s look at the other 26 that she’s had, and that’s why she’s in the top 30 for the awards at the end of the year,” Blair said. “People believe in her nationally. I just hope that one day I can fill these seats up and people can believe that they’re fixing to see the freshman of the year in the country.” Senior center Khaalia Hillsman is averaging 15.4 points per game and leads the team with her experience and solid play in the paint. Junior guard Danni Williams, who has also played a major role in the Aggies’ success, is averaging 14.7 points per game and has scored at least 20 points in last three games. Blair said fans should come to Reed so they can experience first hand the special season these players are having. “I want people to come out and see how good Khaalia Hillsman and Jas Lumpkin are playing in their senior seasons [and] what Danni Williams is doing for us,” Blair said. “I think we’ve been consistent now for 13 straight years. It’s time for our people to put up their Valentines after Wednesday and come out here and give us a little bit of love on Thursday.” Hillsman said in order to rebound from Sunday’s loss on the road, the team needs to have a short-term memory approach in order to bring their game against the Gators. “In order to bounce back from LSU, we’ve got to focus on Florida,” Hillsman said. “If we dwell on LSU we’re not going to be able to beat Florida because we’re not going to be able to prepare for Florida.” Thursday’s game will be A&M’s 12th annual BTHO Breast Cancer Game, a game that carries significant weight for both coaches and players. The Aggies’ assistant coach, Bob Starkey, and sophomore guard Jasmine Williams have both been affected by breast cancer. Starkey’s wife is a breast cancer survivor and Williams lost her mother, Yolanda, to the disease. “Our Aggie basketball program and the 12th Man stand committed to do all that we can to create a venue where we promote early detection, raise money for treatment and cures and Beat The Hell Outta breast cancer,” Starkey said, according to 12thman.com. “Everyone in this world has been affected by cancer, myself included, and this is a great way for Aggies to support Aggies in this effort,” Williams said. According to 12thman.com, students can help and donate in a number of ways. Official 2018 BTHO Breast Cancer shirts will be sold, a silent auction will be held and the Starkeys will donate $1.50 for every student that attends the game. “We have a platform in athletics, and it’s our job to not just win games, but to use that platform to help the different charities and causes that are out there, not just here in Bryan-College Station, but across the country,” Blair said. Tipoff against Florida is scheduled for Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Reed Arena.
Top: Junior Anriel Howard averages 11.3 points and 33.7 minutes per game. Bottom: Senior Khaalia Hillsman has a team high 39 blocks per game and averages 15.1 points per game.
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GET YOUR AGGIELAND PHOTO TAKEN TODAY! Specialties Photography will be set up to have your FREE portrait taken for Texas A&M University’s 2018 Aggieland yearbook. ALL CLASSES: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday - Thursday in the Sanders Corp Museum Library
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Should any student be unable to make the specified times on campus they can contact Specialties directly to set up a complimentary in-studio appointment at 979-696-9898. Any graduating seniors who wish to set up a cap/gown photo will need to contact the studio at 979-696-9898. Cap/Gown sessions cost $21.95.
The Battalion | 2.15.18
Photos by Annie Lui — THE BATTALION
The Food for Fines program allows students to pay overdue book fees off by donating canned goods at any A&M library campus during the month of February.
Students offered option to pay off fines with canned goods 12th Can Food Pantry, university libraries partner to fill the shelves By Chad Anderson @Chad_Anderson24 Students can give back to the Aggie community and pay off their overdue library fines all at the same time. Texas A&M’s University Libraries and The 12th Can food pantry are teaming up for their fifth annual Food for Fines can drive. From Feb. 7-28, the program will allow students to pay off their debts to the library with non-perishable food donations. The 12th Can Food Pantry is a student-run food pantry located at A&M that serves all students, faculty and staff in need of assistance. Their goal is to eliminate hunger at A&M, bring awareness to food insecurity in college
communities and show others the power of the Aggie spirit. Since opening in 2013, they have served over 30,000 pounds of food. Tonya Carter, University Libraries Food for Fines coordinator, said the food drive makes a considerable difference in the area. “We provide food for the community and for our students through The 12th Can Pantry,” Carter said. “We’ve collected over 3,200 pounds of food total and over 400 pounds a year. It makes us feel good because it brings such a positive impact.” Packaged, non-perishable foods are being accepted at the help desks for each library on campus, including tomato soup, ramen-noodles and chicken broth. For each full-sized donation of 10 oz. or more, one dollar will be credited toward a student’s fine on their University Libraries account, with a $50 maximum. No glass containers will be accepted and food cannot be repackaged, opened or expired. The Food for Fines campaign was estab-
lished in 2013 as a five day event, and has since expanded to include most of the month of February. “We have a huge conference every summer for the American Library Association, and I learned about fundraising within our own organizations,” Carter said. “It really got me thinking, so I pitched it to my boss, and he took it to his boss and it just took off from there.” Carter said she can not believe how much the campaign has grown since it first began. “The first year we did it was just five days, the next was seven days, then 14 days and now we’re doing it for a month,” Carter said. “The one thing I’d really like to see it do is expand to where it’s more than just once a year.” Jacob Owen, electrical engineering graduate student, is participating in the program for a second time this year. “Overall it’s just nice to see everyone come together — from the library, to the university,
to the community,” Owen said. “It’s Aggies helping Aggies. That’s what it’s all about.” Myesha Devrow, library specialist at West Campus Library, said she has been working for the university since 2014 and enjoys seeing the success of the campaign each year. “My favorite part about the program is seeing how much all the cans come together, especially when February ends and we see the totals of all the cans collected,” Devrow said. Once the donations are collected, they will be shipped to The 12th Can Food Pantry, where they will be used to help residents in need, according to Morgan Payton, assistant director of The 12th Can. “Through our fellow Aggies paying off overdue books by donating food, we will be able to feed the 100 clients that use our pantry every opening,” Payton said.
BASEBALL CONTINUED come out of the bullpen in relief, gives A&M the ‘luxury’ of limiting the amount of pitches the starters, helping preserve the rotation. Rhode Island opens the season after a strong 2017 campaign that saw them finish second in the Atlantic 10 regular season play. Rhode Island returns a stellar pitching staff, including the pitchers who made 51 of their 52 starts last year. “They have a kid [Tyler Wilson] that was a sophomore All-American back healthy now that will throw on Friday that’s a left hander that can present problems for anybody in the country,” Childress said. Rhode Island also returns a veteran staff of pitchers that includes senior RHP Matt Murphy, sophomore RHP Vitaly Jangois and senior Tyler Barss. Barss is a dynamic closer out of the bullpen that holds the Rhode Island record for most saves. Offensively, Rhode Island has a big bat in senior Jordan Powell, who finished last season hitting .352 and 27 RBIs. “They play with an incredible chip on their shoulder, they had a great season last season,” Childress said. “We’re going to play at a very high level and have a chance to win every game.” The Aggies’ season will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m and all three games will be televised on SEC Network +.
Texas A&M baseball enters the 2018 season ranked No. 10 overall by D1Baseball.com
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The men in Saw ‘Em Off are dedicated to preserving Texas A&M’s traditions through outreach events.
New life brought to A&M traditions through Saw ‘Em Off Men’s organization aims to reinstate annual UT football rivalry showdown By Hannah Falcon @hannahfalcon_ A group of students have created an organization with the hopes of preserving the traditions at Texas A&M and reinstating the football rivalry against the University of Texas. Officially created in August 2017, Saw ‘Em Off is a men’s organization focused on spreading awareness about the importance of participating in Aggie traditions such as Silver Taps and Muster. Additionally, the organization hosts events with the University of Texas to help promote their mission of reinstating the A&M-UT rivalry football game. Justin Holifield, Saw ‘Em Off officer and recreation, parks and tourism sciences junior, said he believes there are not enough attendees at traditional A&M events such as Silver Taps and Muster. Holifield said he uses social media and word of mouth to spread awareness
about these events. “We wanted to create a unified front that not only encourages, but brings to the forefront, that you have to go Silver Taps, you have to go to Muster, you need to be at the games,” Holifield said. Maxwell Becker, political science sophomore and president of Saw ‘Em Off, said choosing a name for their organization was a no brainer when he thought about the Aggie traditions that are most important to him. He said he feels connected to the whole student body through the Aggie War Hymn lines, “Saw Varsity’s horns off.” “I can’t tell you how many games I’ve been at with people I don’t know and we’re able to look at each other and smile and acknowledge that we’re all part of one big network and family,” Becker said. According to Becker, the phrase “Saw ‘Em Off” is copyrighted by Fadi Kalaouze, the owner of Aggieland Outfitters. Kalaouze granted Becker permission to use the phrase as their official organization name back in August. “I got Fadi on the phone and we talked,”
Becker said. “He’s a redass Aggie, really believes in the mission, thinks it’s really good bull. We got a private licensing deal worked out and now we’re actually officially sponsored by him.” Saw ‘Em Off’s other focus is to reinstate the A&M-UT rivalry game. Becker said this is needed because the rivalry is one of the most defining traditions at A&M and he believes it’s a shame new Aggies don’t get to experience the excitement, especially considering A&M lost the last time the two teams played. “When we lost the [last] game, we felt like it was a really big blow to the traditions that make the weird, awesome culture that is A&M,” Becker said. “So we wanted to take hold of that passion that Aggies have, it’s something we do every time we sing the War Hymn.” Saw ‘Em Off officers plan outreach events, such as concessions outside of the MSC, to bring awareness to their cause of reinstating the rivalry. Carson DeCoster, finance freshman, said Saw ‘Em Off is planning to team up with a similar organization at Texas. “Just to show people how fun the rivalry
can be, to drum up excitement and even to raise funds to further that movement, we are in the process of planning a mock sporting event between us and an organization at UT,” DeCoster said. Although they market themselves as a men’s organization, Becker said everyone is welcome to be part of the Saw ‘Em Off organization. “Since all of the founding staff [were] male, we thought it would be best to start as an all male organization,” Becker said. “However, we are actively seeking women who would be more than capable and more than happy to do something like what we did and be a sister organization.” DeCoster said Saw ‘Em Off has taught him important life lessons and he looks forward to spreading their mission across campus. “This organization and the people I’ve worked with have taught me to truly value everybody around me and working with me,” DeCoster said. “There’s not a single person on our team that I couldn’t give you a list of qualities and unique values about that I really appreciate.”