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A&M Hosts Houston Baptist on Tuesday

February 24, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M wraps up its eight-game homestand hosting the Houston Baptist Huskies on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park at 6:35 pm Tuesday. The Aggies and Huskies enter the fray with identical 6-1 records on the season.

The Aggies are looking to start the season 7-1 for the third time in the last four years. A&M has benefited from a healthy dose of Olsen Magic this season as Logan Nottebrok has tallied two walk-off home runs early in the season.

Southpaw Tyler Stubblefield will make the start on the mound for the Aggies. He’s looking to improve on his first career start a week ago when he held Stephen F Austin to one run on three hits and one walk while striking out eight over 4.1 innings.

Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park (6,100) • College Station, Texas

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SERIES HISTORY – Texas A&M leads 5-0

• TUESDAY: A&M - Tyler Stubblefield (Fr., LHP, 0-0, 1.42) vs.  HBU – Ross Kennell (Jr., RHP, 0-0, 9.64)

The Aggies own a 5-0 record all-time against Houston Baptist, including 2-0 since the Huskies moved up to Division I in 2009. The squads first met in 1967, with the Aggies posting a 4-0 win. They met two years later and A&M was victorious, 6-5. Houston Baptist made its first appearance at Olsen Field in 1998 and the Aggies greeted them with a 9-2 win. In 2012, the Maroon and White won 7-2 behind a stellar performance from Jacob House who went 3-for-4 with one double and four RBI. Mikey Reynolds went 3-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases. Last season, A&M needed Olsen Magic to dis-pose of the Huskies, winning 6-5 when Jace Statum and Krey Bratsen both drew bases loaded walks for the win. Cole Lankford went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in the win.

The Huskies enter Tuesday’s play with a 6-1 mark, opening the season with a three-game sweep of Prairie View A&M, posting a midweek win at UTSA and taking two of three from Northeastern last weekend... Houston Baptist is hitting .327 on the season, averaging 7.1 runs per game and posting a 2.91 ERA... The Huskies have eight players hitting .300 or better, including two guys with batting averages over .400 with Samm Wiggins batting .471 (8-for-17) with three runs and three RBI and Curtis Jones hitting .412 (14-for-34) with 10 runs and five RBI... This marks the Huskies first season in the Southland Conference... The Huskies were picked to finish 11th out of 12 teams in the preseason coaches’ poll... In their last season in the Great West Conference, Houston Baptist finished second in the regular-season and won the league tournament crown with wins over UT Pan American (3-1), North Dakota (8-4) and Northern Colorado (13-3).

• Head coach Rob Childress enters his ninth season at the helm of the Texas A&M baseball program, beginning the year with a 329-183-2 record. Last season, he led the Aggies to the postseason to extend their school-record streak to seven consecutive seasons.
• Texas A&M welcomes back 17 letterwinners, including seven positional starters, from last season’s 34-29 team that advanced to the NCAA Championship. The Aggies return two All-SEC Second Team performers in Krey Bratsen (OF) and Daniel Mengden (UT). They are joined by Cole Lankford who earned SEC All-Defensive Team recognition at first base along with Mengden on the mound.
• The Aggies are ranked in the Top 25 in three of the four major college baseball polls, earning the No. 18 ranking in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, No. 23 spot in the Collegiate Baseball ranking and the No. 24 spot in the Baseball America ranking.

Making his second career start... In his first career start, Stubblefield allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out eight over 4.1 innings as he was credited with no decision in an Aggies’ win over Stephen F Austin... He made his debut in season-opener, earning a hold with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief in a 10-2 win over Northeastern, scattering two hits while striking out one... Brother of current Aggie junior Gandy Stubblefield.

Texas A&M starting pitchers combined to log a 3-1 record and 1.26 ERA on the opening week. On the first two weekends Daniel Mengden, Parker Ray and Grayson Long held foes to a .193 batting average, allowing six runs, five earned, on 27 hits and 13 walks while striking out 38 over 38.2 innings and freshman Tyler Stubblefield allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out eight over 4.1 innings.

Through two starts, Long has yet to allow a run in 14.0 innings, scattering seven hits and four walks while striking out nine, posting a 1-0 record. Mengden owns a 1.38 ERA with a 1-1 record, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits and four walks while striking out 20 over 13.0 innings.

The Aggies’ bullpen allowed just six runs in 20.0 innings of work over the first seven games, earning three wins. The reserves sported a 2.70 ERA and .213 opponent batting average in the seven games, allowing six runs on 16 hits, including 12 singles, and seven walks while striking out 16. Andrew Vinson has led the charges with 5.1 blank innings over four games, retiring all 16 batters he faced, including five strikeouts. Freshmen Tyler Stubblefield and Ryan Hendrix have each worked 2.0 blank frames.

Texas A&M’s offense has specialized in offering an immediate response to opponents’ scoring this season. Aggies’ foes have scored in eight innings in 2014. Texas A&M has had an opportunity to bat in the next half inning on seven occasions (Northeastern scored in the ninth inning on Feb. 15 and A&M did not bat in the home half of the 11-2 victory) and scored runs in six of those innings. Ironically, the only inning the Aggies did not respond to an opponents’ score in the next half inning was in their 1-0 loss to Sacramento State. In the six aforementioned innings, the Aggies’ opponents scored 11 runs and A&M responded with a combined 13 runs in the next half innings.

After missing the beginning of the season with an illness, Krey Bratsen saw action in the last two games of the Sacramento State series as a defensive replacement. Bratsen has a chance to set the Aggies’ all-time record for games played. He currently has 194 career games under his belt, 47 shy of the career record of 241 set by Scott Livingstone (1985-88). With six more games, Bratsen will become the 15th Aggie to play in 200 games.

As a freshman, Bratsen played in all 69 games, including 68 starts. In 2012, he played in 60 games, including 55 starts. Last season, Bratsen was the only Aggie to start all 63 games.

The Aggies are hitting .310 (9-for-29) with a .417 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage in the first inning of games. Blake Allemand is hit-ting 3-for-6 with three runs and one RBI in the first inning. Logan Nottebrok is 2-for-7 with two doubles, two runs and three RBI.

A&M batters leading off an inning own a .390 on-base percentage and .294 batting average (15-for-51). JB Moss and Logan Nottebrok both have three hits to lead off frames. Moss has reached base on five occasions with three hits and two walks.

The Aggies’ big run numbers early in the season can be attributed to their ability to produce with runners in scoring position. A&M batters are hitting .296 (24-for-81) with six doubles and 35 RBI with runners on second and/or third base. Patrick McLendon is 4-for-7 with five RBI to lead the way. Troy Stein (3-for-7, 6 RBI), Hunter Melton (3-for-7, 3 RBI) and Mitchell Nau (4-for-10, 3 RBI) are all hitting .400 or better with runners in scoring position.

Texas A&M hits the road for the first time in 2014 as the Aggies head to California for a three-game series at Fresno State from Friday-Sunday.

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