COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies make their SEC baseball debut with their first-ever meeting versus the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Both squads will use the series to try seizing momentum heading into the meat of the 2013 schedule. A&M is 9-3 at home and hopes to capitalize on the opportunity to open the league docket in front of the 12th Man. Georgia has stumbled a bit out of the gate and owns an 8-9 record heading into Friday night's action.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (11-7, 0-0 SEC) vs GEORGIA BULLDOGS (8-9, 0-0 SEC)
Blue Bell Park (6,100) • College Station, Texas
SCHEDULE - Friday 6:35 pm • Saturday 2:05 pm • Sunday 12:05 pm
RADIO Sunday - Fox Sports Southwest (Will Johnson, play-by-play; Chuck Glenewinkel, color)
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play; Scott Clendenin, color)
LIVE VIDEO - aggieathletics.com (premium subscription) on Friday and Saturday
LIVE AUDIO - aggieathletics.com • radioaggieland.com
LIVE STATS - aggieathletics.com
RANKINGS - Texas A&M - unranked • Georgia - unranked
SERIES HISTORY - First meeting
SERIES STREAKS - First meeting
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
- FRIDAY #32 Kyle Martin (Sr., RHP, 1-2, 4.07) vs. #3 Sean McLaughlin (Fr., RHP, 3-0, 1.80)
- SATURDAY #15 Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 3-1, 2.03) vs. #38 Patrick Boling (RJr., LHP, 1-2, 4.37)
- SUNDAY TBA vs. #32 Luke Crumley (So., RHP, 1-2, 6.91)
- Inaugural SEC Pint Glasses given away to the first 1,000 fans
- Coach Blair will be recognized and will throw out the first pitch
- The 1993 Texas A&M Baseball team which won Southwest Conference Championship and advanced to the College World Series team will be recognized and have a pregame autograph session
- Have-A-Catch: Fans will be invited to play catch in the outfield for half an hour following the conclusion on the game
SUNDAY - Junior Aggie Club Members get in FREE
- St. Patrick's Day at the Park: The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a green stadium cup
- Take Me Out To The Ballgame: Up to four kids (12 years of age and under) get in FREE with the purchase of an accompanying adult ticket
- Kids Run the Bases: All kids are invited to run the bases following the conclusion of the game
Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last six games (the Aggies' last seven games), Lankford is batting .500 (13-for-26) with five multiple hit games, three doubles, one triple and nine RBI. In the weekend series at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he went 6-for-13 with five RBI. Lankford went a combined 6-for-10 (3-for-5 in both games) in the Aggies last two games with two doubles and five RBI.
Mikey Reynolds has a hit in each of his last 17 games, the longest string of his career. He is hitting .478 (33-for-69) during the span three doubles, 15 runs, 10 RBI and nine stolen bases. The streak features 10 multi-hit games, including four three-hit games and one four-hit game. He has logged a first-inning hit in eight of the games. He has also reached safely in all 18 games. Reynolds still has some work to do for the school record. RJ Englert strung together a 28-game hit streak in 1972. In more recent history, Tyler Naquin logged a 27-game hit streak in 2011.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
- TELEVISION - Sunday's game will air live on Fox Sports Southwest as a collaborative effort between 12th Man Productions and Learfield Sports... Will Johnson (play-by-play) and Chuck Glenewinkel (color) will call the action.
- RADIO - Fans can listen locally on WTAW-AM 1620 ... Dave South (play-by-play) will call the action ... pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
- INTERNET - aggieathletics.com will offer live play-by-play and statistics ... fans can watch all non-televised games on 12thMan.TV (with a premium subscription).
- MOBILE PHONE - listen to the game on your iPhone, Blackberry or PDA free of charge ... log on to radioaggieland.com for more information.
CHILDRESS EARNS WIN NUMBER 300
With the Aggies' midweek win over Houston Baptist on March 12, head coach Rob Childress reached the 300-win plateau for his career. Childress owns a 300-160-2 record, all as the skipper of the Aggies. He trails only Mark Johnson (876 - 1985-2005) and Tom Chandler (660 - 1959-84) on A&M's career win list.
TEXAS A&M/GEORGIA SERIES NOTABLES
This marks the first-ever meeting between Texas A&M and Georgia on the baseball diamond.
MORE ON GEORGIA
Georgia enters the fray with an 8-9 record. The Bulldogs' longest win streak of the season is three games, which occured during a series sweep against Alabama-Birmingham. The Bulldogs have dropped weekend series at Georgia Southern and home against Belmont. Last week, Georgia won two-of-three at home against Liberty and split a pair of home games against Appalachian State. The Bulldogs offense is potent with a .306 team average. Three players own a batting average of .350 or higher, including Curt Powell (.419, 15 runs, 5 2b, 10 RBI), Nelson Ward (.400, 17 runs, 3 2b, 2 3b, 10 RBI) and Kyle Farmer (.359, 9 runs, 8 2b, 20 RBI). Freshman Friday night starter Sean McLaughlin is the ace of the staff with a 3-0 record and 1.80 ERA through four starts.
The Bulldogs have been to the College World Series on six occasions, including winning the national championship in 1990. Head coach David Perno has taken Georgia to three CWS, including finishing as the runner-up to upstart Fresno State in 2008. Georgia boasts 34 former players who went on to the Major Leagues. The group is led by four-time MLB All-Star pitcher and 1943 AL MVP Spud Chandler, two-time MLB All-Star first baseman Glenn Davis and emerging Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham.
POSTSEASON STREAK CONTINUES INTO 2013
Prior to the arrival of head coach Rob Childress, Texas A&M had never appeared in the NCAA Tournament more than four consecutive years. Hosting an NCAA Regional in 2012 extended the Aggies current string to six consecutive years, something that had never happened before in the program's 112 year history.
Childress has led the Aggies to the postseason each of the last six seasons, topping the previous-high water mark of four-straight trips, a feat that had happened only twice before at Texas A&M. Former head coach Tom Chandler led his squad to the NCAA Regionals each season from 1975 to 1978 and 11 years later the Aggies enjoyed a similar four-year run from 1986-89 under the direction of head coach Mark Johnson.
This season, eight pitchers have taken the mound as Aggies for the first time, including three true freshmen. The eight pitchers have combined to allow eight earned runs on 39 hits and 17 walks over 42.2 innings. True freshman Grayson Long leads the group, posting a 2-0 mark with a 3.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 17.2 innings. Redshirt freshman Matt Kent has the most appearances with 10, racking up 8.0 frames, with five runs for a 5.62 ERA. Junior Jason Jester is 1-0 with four saves, which are all over 1.0 inning in length. True freshman AJ Minter (3.02IP) and sophomore transfer Nate Sorenson (0.1 IP) are unscathed on the year. Sophomore transfer Zach Brashear has allowed two unearned runs over 5.1 innings and redshirt freshman Ty Schlottmann has allowed one unearned run over 2.2 innings. True freshman Andrew Vinson has allowed one earned run in 6.2 innings of work.
THE GO-GO AGGIES
It's early in the season, but the Aggies' are on a brisk pace for stolen bases with 35 through 18 games. The current pace would give A&M 109 through a 56-game season. The school record is 151 set in 2007. Mikey Reynolds leads the team with nine steals followed by Krey Bratsen with six. Blake Allemand has five steals and Charlie Curl has chipped in with four. Last season, A&M tallied 129 stolen bases which ranks third on the Aggies' all-time chart.
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 122-84-3 (.591) against current members of the SEC, including 3-0 vs. Alabama, 38-29-1 vs. Arkansas, 6-1 vs. Florida, 3-1 vs. Kentucky, 15-12-1 vs. LSU, 4-2 vs. Ole Miss, 8-6 vs. Mississippi State, 44-32-1 vs. Missouri, 0-1 vs. South Carolina, 1-0 vs. Tennessee. With long-time Big 12 companion Missouri out of the equation, A&M enters 2012 campaign with a 78-52-2 (.595) mark against the old guard. Texas A&M has never faced Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
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.
MORE ON THE 2013 SCHEDULE
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.
MARTIN NOW APPEARING
Now the Aggies' Friday night starter, Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons as a stalwart in the bullpen. He currently ranks sixth on A&M's career list with 81 appearances. With his start on Friday, Martin will move into a tie with Jason Meyer (82 - 2004-07) for fifth place on the career list. It will be a harder record to reach as a starter, but he's chasing Kyle Thebeau's record of 103 appearances between 2006-09.
BRATSEN STEALING THE SHOW
With six stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into fourth place on the Aggies career stolen bases charts with 58. He is five steals from third place, trailing No. 3 Steven Truitt (63 - 1997-99). Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98.
Bratsen stole 31 bases as a freshman, the seventh-best season in school history. Last season, Bratsen racked up 21 stolen bases.
2013 SEC TOURNAMENT
The 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament is scheduled for May 21-26 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham.
The tournament, being held in Hoover for the 16th consecutive year, will increase from 10 to 12 teams and will begin on Tuesday, May 21. Seeds 5-12 will meet in a single elimination format on the opening day of the tournament, followed by traditional double-elimination play Wednesday-Friday. The tournament will return to single elimination play on Saturday. The 12 teams are seeded 1-12 with two divisional champions and top four seeds guaranteed opening-round byes, with the possibility of earning another by later in the bracket. The tournament field will include the top teams from the SEC's Eastern and Western Divisions plus 10 at-large bids seeded 3-12 based on conference winning percentage.
SHINING AT HOME
The Aggies own a 9-3 record in home games during the 2013 campaign, led by a pitching staff which boasts a 2.08 ERA. Daniel Mengden leads the way with a 1.42 ERA and 2-0 mark in two starts on the Olsen Field mound. He has yielded just two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out 10 over 12.2 innings. Freshman Jason Jester is 1-0 with three saves at home, working 8.0 shutout innings, scattering six hits and one walk while striking out nine. Mikey Reynolds is hitting .412 with eight runs, eight RBI and seven steals in 12 home games. Mengden is batting .350 with six runs, one double, one triple, one home run and eight RBI in 11 games.
SETTING THE TABLE
Batters leading off an inning are hitting .363 (49-for-135) with four doubles, two triples and a .436 on-base percentage for the Aggies. Daniel Mengden has a .714 on-base percentage, going 6-for-10 (.600) with three walks and one hit-by-pitch to lead the way. Krey Bratsen also owns .600 average, going 6-for-10 in his 10 leadoff plate appearances. Mikey Reynolds owns a .583 on-base percentage, going 10-for-20 (.500) with three walks and one hit-by-pitch.
The Aggies had eight true freshmen make appearances through 17 games on the season. Jonathan Moroney has started 15 games in leftfield. He is hitting .304 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI. Logan Taylor has made eight starts, including three at first base and five at third base. He is hitting .208 with two doubles and four runs scored. Cory Raley made one start in rightfield and two appearances as a pinch-runner. He is hitting .333 with two runs scored. JB Moss has two hits and three runs in 10 at-bats and Hunter Melton has made one start at first base and is hitless in four at-bats Grayson Long has made five appearances on the mound, including three starts. He is 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 17.2 innings. AJ Minter has worked 3.2 scoreless innings over seven appearances, scattering four hits and three walks while fanning three. Andrew Vinson has allowed one run while fanning eight over 6.2 innings for a 1.35 ERA in six outings.
A&M has outscored opponents 22-8 in the first inning this season. The Aggies have scored 25.8% of their runs in the first frame. The Maroon and White are batting .364 and own a .451 on-base percentage in the first inning of games. Mikey Reynolds leads the squad with six runs and eight hits (.500 - 8-for-16) in the opening frame. Cole Lankford has seven RBI in the first inning, going 3-for-7 (.429) with one double and one RBI. Daniel Mengden is batting .462 (6-for-13) with one triple and four runs.
FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER: #32 KYLE MARTIN
After 77 relief appearances in his first three seasons, senior Kyle Martin made his first collegiate start on opening night ... Despite a no-decision and a team loss in the opener, Martin tallied career-highs with 6.2 IP and 10 strikeouts and the two runs he allowed were unearned ... He has walked just four batters on the season and while striking out 24 over 24.1 innings ... in his last start, he topped No. 8 Cal State Fullerton allowing just one run on six hits and two walks while striking out four over 6.2 innings ... His 81 appearances ranks sixth on A&M's career list, one shy of fifth place ... Last season Martin served as the Aggies' closer, going 6-5 with seven saves and a 3.20 ERA ... He was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention as a junior.
SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER: #15 DANIEL MENGDEN
Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his ninth career start and his fifth weekend start ... He leads the Aggies with three victories ... Last week, he was saddled with a loss at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton 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 ... He twice pitched 7.0 innings, including an effort at Sam Houston State where he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings, scattering six hits while striking out four ... In his eight career starts, he is 6-1 with a 1.33 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.
The Aggies host the Dallas Baptist Patriots in a 6:35 pm contest at Blue Bell Park on Tuesday.