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Aggies Wrap Up Road Swing with Series at Alabama

April 25, 2013
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies appear back to near full strength as they head out on the road for a three-game series at the Alabama Crimson Tide. After missing their top two hitters for each of the last two weekends, Mikey Reynolds (.399) and Cole Lankford (.364) will both be back in the lineup again at the same time for conference play for the first time since April 7. The Aggies hit .288 in 12 league contests with both Reynolds and Lankford in the lineup and .228 in six games without them both in the lineup.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (22-20, 7-11 SEC) at ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (25-18, 9-9 SEC)
- Friday, 6:35 pm • Saturday, 6:05 pm • Sunday, 1:05 pm
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
RANKINGS - A&M - unranked • ARK - unranked
SERIES HISTORY - Texas A&M Leads 3-0
Friday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 4-2, 2.04 ERA) vs Charlie Sullivan (Sr., RHP, 3-4, 3.36 ERA)
Saturday - Parker Ray (Jr., RHP, 0-0, 0.69 ERA) vs Justin Kamplain (So., LHP, 0-1, 5.40 ERA)
Sunday - Rafael Pineda (Jr., RHP (3-4, 3.67 ERA) vs Spencer Turnbull (So., RHP, 4-1, 2.26 ERA)

Despite only having one plate appearance in four of his last five games, Mikey Reynolds current streak of reaching base via base hit, walk or hit-by-pitch at least once in 40 consecutive games is the second-longest active streak in the nation. Troy’s Logan Pierce has a 46-game streak, which includes two games in 2012, to lead the nation. After going hitless but reaching via a walk in the season opener, Reynolds went on a career-long 22-game hit streak. He has hit safely in 35 of 39 games. He is hitting .399 on the season with a .461 on-base percentage, 26 runs, eight doubles, 17 RBI and 12 stolen bases. In three pinch-hit appearances against Arkansas he drew a walk and hit two singles. He singled in his last of four at-bats at Texas State on Tuesday to keep the streak alive.

Troy Stein and Brandon Wood both own considerably higher batting averages, slugging percentages and on-base percentages in road games as compared to home games. In 14 road games, Stein is batting .373 (19-for-51) on the road, 87 points higher than his home batting average. Brandon Wood is hitting .296 (8-for-27) on the road, 63 points higher than his home batting average.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT 
14 road games   .373  14-13  51  10  19    5  .588   4   1  14  .429   0   0-0
25 home games   .286  20-19  70   8  20    7  .414   4   0  11  .324   2   1-1

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT 
14 road games   .296  11- 8  27   3   8    4  .481   3   0   9  .367   3   0-0
25 home games   .233  21-12  43   8  10    3  .349   6   2  10  .346   1   1-2

The Aggies are on pace for a school-record sacrifice bunts. With 50 bunts through 42 games, A&M is on pace for 66 sac bunts for the year. The school record is 55 in 2011. Last year, the Aggies put down 50 sacrifice bunts. Krey Bratsen leads the squad with 15 sacrifice bunts. He had 19 as a freshman and eight as a sophomore. He owns the school career record with 42 sacrifice bunts. Charlie Curl has added 10 and Blake Allemand has seven.

Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last 25 games (the Aggies’ last 31 games), Lankford is batting .402 (41-for-102) with 13 multiple hit games, nine doubles, two triples, one home run and 17 RBI. In the weekend series at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he went 6-for-13 with five RBI. In the series finale against Georgia, Lankford came up just a single shy of hitting for the cycle going 3-for-5 with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run and one RBI. In the series finale against No. 6 Ole Miss, Lankford keyed the Aggies comeback, going 2-for-4 with one double and two runs scored. He batted 5-for-11 against South Carolina, including three hits in the series opener. Lankford batted 7-for-14 with two doubles and two RBI in the three-game series against Auburn. He has six three-hit games in his last 21 contests.

Texas A&M and Alabama have met on three prior occasions with the Aggies owning a 3-0 edge in the all-time series with all the games being played in College Station. The teams played twice at the Continental Airlines Aggie Baseball Classic in 1995, with the Aggies winning 6-2 and 5-4. The teams squared off again once in at the 2003 NCAA College Station Regional where the Aggies won 16-5 before losing two games to eventual regional champion Houston.

Alabama enters the series with a 25-18 record overall and a 9-9 ledger in league plays. After starting the season 16-9, the Crimson Tide is 9-9 over the last 18 games.

The Crimson Tide is hitting .247 on the season with a .313 slugging percentage and .338 on--base percentage. Ben Moore is Alabama’s top run producer, hitting .276 with 25 runs, nine doubles, four triples, two home runs, 27 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Brett Booth is hitting .268 with a team-high 34 runs, six doubles, three home runs and 25 RBI.

Alabama has been driven by its pitching staff this season with a 3.17 ERA and .252 opponent batting average. Friday night starter Charley Sullivan is 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 59.0 innings. Closer Ray Castillo is 2-1 with six saves and a 1.91 ERA in 16 appearances.

The Crimson Tide has made five College World Series appearances, including 1950, 1983, 1996, 1997, 1999. They have made 21 NCAA Championship appearances including four of the last five seasons.

Alabama boasts 64 former players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The group is headlined by Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame infielder Joe Sewell and three-time MLB All-Star Frank Lary who earned the nickname “The Yankee Killer” for his 27 wins over New York during his career.

After going 0-for-17 in his first six games (the Aggies first eight games), Allemand has batted .294 (35-for-119) with five doubles, one home run and 18 RBI in the last 34 games. The 18 RBI during the span leads the squad. Even when he wasn’t hitting, Allemand was able to get on-base enough to score five runs in the first six games, drawing five walks and getting hit by two pitches for a .292 on-base percentage. His on-base percentage the last 34 games is .403 with 17 walks and six HBP.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT 
First 8 games   .000   6- 6  17   5   0    0  .000   5   2   7  .292   2   3-3
Last 34 games   .294  34-34 119  19  35   18  .361  17   6  16  .403   5   9-14 

After going without a hit in his first 15 games (A&M’s first 24), including four starts, Brandon Wood has been solid the last 18 games, including 17 starts. Since the second game of the Sunday Ole Miss doubleheader, Wood is hitting .300 (18-for-60) with eight runs, three doubles, two triples, one home run and seven RBI. He also owns a .368 on-base percentage and .467 slugging percentage over the span. The stretch includes a pair of three-hit games. In the first 24 games of the season, he went 0-for-12, but did manage to post a .333 on-base percentage with five walks and one hit-by-pitch.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT 
First 24 games  .000  15- 4  12   4   0    0  .000   5   1   4  .333   1   2-2
Last 18 games   .300  18-17  60   8  18    7  .467   6   1  16  .368   3   1-2  

Texas A&M is in the midst of its first season in the Southeastern Conference. After 16 seasons in the Big 12 Conference, the Aggies will meet a new set of league mates. This year, A&M will face 10 of 13 possible conference opponents in the regular season, with no series scheduled against Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt this season.

The Aggies are 129-95-3 (.575) against current members of the SEC, including 3-0 vs Alabama, 39-31-1 vs Arkansas, 1-2 vs Auburn, 6-1 vs Florida, 3-0 vs Georgia, 3-1 vs Kentucky, 15-12-1 vs LSU, 6-3 vs Ole Miss, 8-9 vs Mississippi State, 44-32-1 vs Missouri, 0-4 vs South Carolina, 1-0 vs Tennessee. With long-time Big 12 companion Missouri out of the equation, A&M entered 2013 campaign with a 78-52-2 (.595) mark against the old guard. Texas A&M had never faced Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt prior to the 2013 campaign.

Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in ninth innings of games this season. In 30.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed five runs, four earned, on 22 hits and nine walks while striking out 23 for a 1.20 ERA and .206 opponent batting average. Jason Jester leads the way with 15.2 scoreless innings, scattering six hits and three walks while striking out 13. Parker Ray has worked 3.0 scoreless frames, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out one.

Batters leading off an inning are hitting .336 (107-for-318) with 15 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and a .414 on-base percentage. Daniel Mengden has a .636 on-base percentage, going 9-for-17 (.529) with four walks and one hit-by-pitch, one double and two home runs to lead the way. Mikey Reynolds owns a .524 on-base percentage, going 26-for-56 (.464) with four doubles, five walks and two HBP. Jace Statum owns a .500 on-base percentage going 5-for-18 (.278) at the plate with eight walks in 26 plate appearances. Cole Lankford owns a .471 on-base percentage leading off innings, going 14-for-32 (.438) with three doubles, one triple, one walk and one HBP.

The Aggies schedule features eight teams in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 for a total of 20 games. The slate also highlights seven games against three teams in the BA Preseason Top 5 and 13 games against five teams in the BA Preseason Top 10. The Aggies play preseason No. 1 North Carolina and No. 18 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park. They have a non-conference road series at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton. They have SEC series at No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 3 Arkansas and SEC home series against No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 10 LSU.

The Aggies are 1-2 in extra innings this season. Texas A&M beat Georgia, 2-1, in 10 innings in their Saturday affair at Blue Bell Park and lost their Friday night home game against Auburn, 6-4, in 10 innings and road game at Sam Houston State, 9-8, in 11 innings.

Fourteen teams on Texas A&M’s 2013 schedule will be coming off NCAA tournament campaigns.

Of the 14 squads who earned a berth in the field of 64 in ‘13, four hosted regionals and Arkansas and South Carolina both advanced to the College World Series in Omaha where the Gamecocks finished as national runner-up to Arizona. Eight of the Aggies’ opponents racked up 40 or more wins.

The Aggies will play a total of 31 games against 2012 NCAA tourney teams this spring.

Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons exclusively as a stalwart in the bullpen. He currently ranks third on A&M’s career list with 89 appearances. Martin has some work ahead of him to move up the list further as he’s chasing Kyle Thebeau’s record of 103 appearances between 2006-09. Estevan Uriegas (2009-12) ranks second with 100 appearances.

With 14 stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into third place on the Aggie career stolen base charts with 66. Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98. Chuck Knoblauch (1987-89) is next on the list with 83 steals.

Bratsen stole 31 bases as a freshman, the seventh-best season in school history. Last season, Bratsen racked up 21 stolen bases.

Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his 15th career start, his 11th weekend start and his fourth “Friday Night” start ... He leads the Aggies with four victories ... After starting the season 3-0, Mengden has been the tough-luck starter the last seven weekend, going 1-2 with four no-decisions despite posting a 1.82 ERA ...  In his first SEC start, he got no-decision despite holding Georgia to just one run while striking out eight over 8.0 innings ...  On the road at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he was saddled with a loss despite allowing just two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out six over 6.0 innings ... In his third outing he went a career-long with 8.0 IP against No. 12 Rice and equaled a career-high eight strikeouts ... He also had eight strikeouts in a win against Pepperdine in the second week of the season ... As a freshman, he made four weekday starts going 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 26.2 innings ...  In his 14 career starts, he is 7-2 with a 1.65 ERA, .203 opponent batting average and 71 strikeouts (14 walks) in 93.0 innings.

After 33 career appearances, all out of the bullpen, Parker Ray is making his first career start ... Ray has not allowed a run in his last six appearances, covering 14.1 innings, scattering nine hits and two walks while striking out eight ... In three of his last four outings, he’s worked 3.0 or more innings ... Last Sunday, at Arkansas he scattered three hits while fanning two over 3.1 innings ... Last Tuesday, Ray pitched 3.2 shutout innings, scattering three hits and one walk while striking out four.

Rafael Pineda is making his 25th career start ... This first 20 starts, and 22 overall, were “Sunday” starts coming at the tail end of series ... After back-to-back starts, against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, in which he didn’t record an out, Pineda was removed from the weekend rotation, but returned for the Auburn series ...  He worked his way back into the weekend rotation after two midweek starts in which he did not allow an earned run in 11.1 innings of work ... Against UT Arlington on March 26, he held UT Arlington scoreless over 7.1 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three ... In his last midweek start, he worked 4.0 innings against UTSA, allowing three unearned runs, before being removed from the contest due to a three-hour, 12-minute rain delay ... Three weeks ago, he earned the win in the Sunday game against Auburn, he allowed just one run on six hits and three walks while fanning three over 7.2 innings ... He spent the entire 2012 season as the Aggies’ Sunday starter, amassing a 5-1 record and 2.71 ERA.

Jason Jester has been solid as the Aggies’ closer this season, going 10-for-11 in save situations. He is 2-2 with 10 saves and a 2.78 ERA on the season. He has allowed 10 earned runs in 32.1 innings of work over 23 appearances, scattering 22 hits and seven walks while striking out 32. He is holding opponents to a .185 batting average.

After a bit of a slow start, Troy Stein has hit .350 (28-for-80) in his last 22 games with 15 runs, three doubles, two triples, three home runs and 11 RBI. In the first 18 games of the season, Stein played in 15, including 13 starts and hit .260 (13-for-50) with just four runs, three doubles, one triple and three RBI. His slugging percentage (.550) and on-base percentage (.402) over his last 22 games is vastly improved over the numbers he put up in his first 15 games (.360 and .315, respectively).

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT  
First 18 games  .260  15-13  50   4  13    3  .360   2   2  12  .315   1   1-1
Last 24 games   .350  22-22  80  15  28   11  .550   7   0  17  .402   1   0-0

Krey Bratsen had a brief mid-season slump, but he appears to be back on track. In his last 18 games, Bratsen is hitting .309 (21-for-68) with a .385 on-base percentage and six stolen bases. Over a 12-game span, from games 13 to 24 he hit just .132 (5-for-38) with a .244 on-base percentage and two stolen bases. Bratsen started the season on fire, hitting .356 (16-for-45) in the first 12 games with a .396 on-base percentage and six stolen bases.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT 
First 12 games  .356  12-12  45   6  16    7  .378   2   1   3  .396   4   6-7
Games 13-24     .132  12-12  38   7   5    4  .158   6   2  10  .244   5   2-3
Last 18 games   .309  18-18  68   7  21    7  .353   6   3  18  .385   6   6-6

The Aggies return to Blue Bell Park to start their final homestand of the season. Texas A&M begins the eight-game stint with a game against the Grambling State Tigers at 6:35 pm on Tuesday.




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