COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies host the Grambling State Tigers on Tuesday to start an eight-game homestand at Blue Bell Park. The Maroon and White have played well on Olsen Field in 2013, sporting a 17-8 record and A&M enters the contest with a 10-0 mark in midweek home games. Mikey Reynolds has reached safely (hit, walk, hit-by-pitch) at least once in 42 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (22-22, 7-13 SEC) vs GRAMBLING STATE TIGERS (16-26, 8-13 SWAC)
Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park (6,100) • College Station, Texas
SCHEDULE - Tuesday, 6:35 pm
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
LIVE AUDIO - aggieathletics.com • radioaggieland.com
LIVE VIDEO - aggieathletics.com (with premium subscription)
LIVE STATS - aggieathletics.com
RANKINGS - A&M - unranked (CB) • GSU - unranked
SERIES HISTORY - A&M leads 1-0 (Texas A&M won 11-5 at 1984 NCAA Stillwater Regional)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS - Rafael Pineda (Jr., RHP, 3-4, 3.67 ERA) vs Brock Baker (Jr., RHP, 2-4, 2.98 ERA)
REYNOLDS STREAK LEADS THE NATION
Despite only having one plate appearance in four of his last seven games, Mikey Reynolds current streak of reaching base via base hit, walk or hit-by-pitch at least once in 42 consecutive games is the longest active streak in 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 38 of 42 games. He is hitting .393 on the season with a .457 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 last Tuesday to keep the streak alive. At Alabama, Reynolds singled in the first inning on Friday and the fourth inning on Saturday.
INCREASED WORKLOAD FOR PARKER RAY
Entering last weekend’s series finale at Arkansas, Parker Ray had worked just 19.0 innings in the Aggies’ first 40 games. In the Aggies’ last four games, he has worked 14.2 innings including two relief appearances over 3.0 innings each and a start in which he went 7.2 innings. On the year, Ray owns a 1.34 ERA and has 20 strikeouts in 33.2 innings of work. Before his start on Saturday at Alabama, Ray had not started a game on the mound since before his high school days. He was saddled with the loss against the Crimson Tide despite allowing just three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four over 7.2 innings.
Despite going winless the last four games, Texas A&M’s bullpen has sparkled. The Aggie relievers have not allowed a run over 11.2 innings of work the last four games, scattering nine hits and two walks while striking out 10. Jason Jester and AJ Minter both have three appearances over the span.
SUCCESS IN MIDWEEK HOME GAMES
The Aggies are 10-0 in home midweek action this season, winning the games by a combined margin of 65-21. The pitching staff owns a 1.70 ERA, holding foes to a .211 batting average. Grayson Long (3-0), Corey Ray (3-0) and Rafael Pineda (1-0) have accounted for all the midweek starts on the mound. Troy Stein (.450), Jonathan Moroney (.391) Mikey Reynolds (.381), Cole Lankford (.345), Daniel Mengden (.343) and Mitchell Nau are all hitting .330 or better. Cole Lankford is hitting .345 with two doubles, two triples and nine RBI. Mengden, Reynolds and Mitchell Nau have seven RBI apiece. Stein (.522) and Blake Allemand (.512) both have on-base percentages of .500 or higher.
TEXAS A&M/GRAMBLING STATE SERIES NOTABLES
The only prior meeting between Texas A&M and Grambling State came at the 1984 NCAA Stillwater Regional. The Aggies defeated the Tigers 11-5 in an elimination game. Oklahoma State eventually won the regional.
MORE ON GRAMBLING STATE
Grambling State enters the fray with a 16-26 overall record and the Tigers coming off a doubleheader sweep of Selma University (9-1, 13-1) on Saturday.
The Tigers are hitting .260 as a team. Darren Farmer leads the squad with a .352 batting average, 27 runs, three doubles, three triples, one home run, 30 RBI and nine stolen bases in 40 games. Juan Bueno is hitting .309 with 29 runs, eight doubles, four triples, four home runs, 27 RBI and seven stolen bases in 41 games.
Grambling State owns a 5.24 team ERA with three shutouts on the season. Brock Baker is expected to start for the Tigers. He owns a 2-4 record and 2.98 ERA on the season. He has worked 11 games, including eight starts, with one complete-game shutout, a 7-inning blanking of Prairie View A&M.
The Tigers won the SWAC Baseball Tournament on nine occasions, most recently in 2010.
Grambling State boasts 12 former players who went on to play in Major League Baseball, headlined by two-time NL All-Star and starting centerfielder of the 1969 World Series Champion New York Mets Tommie Agee and 13-year veteran and 1974 NL All-Star Ralph Garr. Countless others were not given the opportunity to play Major League Baseball, including the likes of Frank Marsh and Curtis Johnson.
SHINING AT HOME
The Aggies own a 17-8 record in home games during the 2013 campaign, led by a pitching staff which boasts a 2.74 ERA. Rafael Pineda is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 35.2 innings at home. Jason Jester is 2-0 with seven saves and a 2.55 ERA in 13 home appearances. At the plate, Mikey Reynolds is hitting .385 with 15 runs, 12 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 24 games. Cole Lankford is hitting .351 with six doubles, three triples, one home run and 15 RBI in 21 games. Krey Bratsen is batting .309 with 14 runs, 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 25 games.
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.
NINTH INNING LOCKDOWN
Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in the 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.
HERE COMES THE JESTER, 1-2-3
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 2.70 ERA on the season. He has allowed 10 earned runs in 33.1 innings of work over 23 appearances, scattering 22 hits and eight walks while striking out 33. He is holding opponents to a .182 batting average.
MAKING A SACRIFICE
The Aggies are on pace for a school-record sacrifice bunts. With 50 bunts through 44 games, A&M is on pace for 63 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. Charlie Curl has added 10 and Blake Allemand has seven.
BRATSEN STEALING THE SHOW
With 14 stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen has moved into third place on the Aggies career stolen bases charts with 66. Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98. Chuck Knoblauch (1987-89) ranks second with 83.
Bratsen stole 31 bases as a freshman, the seventh-best season in school history. Last season, Bratsen racked up 21 stolen bases.
Texas A&M returns to SEC play with a three-game series against the Missouri Tigers beginning on Friday at Blue Bell Park. Game times are 6:35 pm on Friday, 2:05 pm on Saturday and 1:05 pm on Sunday.