Aggies Set for Weekend Clash with the Titans
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Aggies hit the road for their final non-conference weekend series of the year, traveling to Cal State Fullerton for a three-game set against the No. 8 Titans.
Heading into the second quarter of the regular-season, A&M has a chance to earn head coach Rob Childress' 300th career victory with two wins in the three-game series. Last season, the Titans won two of the three games played in College Station. After batting just .225 in the opening weekend of the season, A&M is hitting .303 (104-for-343) over the last 11 games.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (9-5) at CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS (11-2)
Goodwin Field (3,500) • Fullerton, California
SCHEDULE - Friday, 9:00 PM • Saturday, 8:00 PM • Sunday, 1:30 PM (All Times Central)
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 - Will Johnson, play-by-play and Kevin Hurley, color
LIVE VIDEO - fullertontitans.com
LIVE AUDIO - aggieathletics.com • radioaggieland.com
LIVE STATS - fullertontitans.com
RANKINGS - Texas A&M - unranked • Cal State Fullerton - 8th (USAT), 10th (BA), 12th (CB), 13 (NCBWA)
SERIES HISTORY - Cal State Fullerton leads the series 5-4
SERIES STREAKS - Cal State Fullerton has won two straight
POSSIBLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
- FRIDAY: #32 Kyle Martin (So., RHP, 0-2, 5.09) vs. #15 Thomas Eschelman (Fr., RHP, 3-0, 0.87)
- SATURDAY: #15 Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 3-0, 2.18) vs. #8 Justin Garza (Fr., RHP, 3-0, 1.27)
- SUNDAY: #55 Rafael Pineda (Jr., RHP, 1-1, 3.68) vs. #12 Grahamm Wiest (So., RHP, 1-1, 2.33)
Mikey Reynolds has a hit in each of his last 13 games, the longest string of his career. He is hitting .490 (25-for-51) during the span with two doubles, 11 runs and 10 RBI. The streak features seven multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and one four-hit game. He has logged a first-inning hit in six of the games. He has also reached safely in all 14 games. Krey Bratsen (11 games) and Daniel Mengden (nine games) had career-long hit streaks snapped last weekend.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
- RADIO - Fans can listen locally on WTAW-AM 1620 ... Will Johnson (play-by-play) and Kevin Hurley (color) will call the action ... pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
- INTERNET - fullertontitans.com will offer live play-by-play and statistics ... fullertontitans.com will also provide live video streaming.
- MOBILE PHONE - listen to the game on your iPhone, Blackberry or PDA free of charge ... log on to radioaggieland.com for more information.
TEXAS A&M/CAL STATE FULLERTON SERIES NOTABLES
The Aggies and Titans have met on nine prior occasions with Fullerton owning a 5-4 edge in the all-time series. The squads first met in a pair of games in College Station in 1983, with the Aggies winning 6-1 and 7-5. In 1988, the Titans eliminated A&M from the 1988 NCAA South Regional in Starkville with a 6-3 win. Fullerton also ended the Aggies 1999 season with a 4-2 victory at the College World Series. In both 2009 and 2011, the Titans came to College Station to play one game, with Fullerton winning 15-5 in '09 and the Aggies blanking CSF 2-0 in 2011. Last year, the Titans won 2-of-3 in College Station. The Maroon and White won the first game 6-1, but suffered a pair of one-run losses to close out the series, including an 11-inning, 6-5, loss on Saturday and a 4-3 defeat on Sunday. Texas A&M pitchers held the Titans to a .216 batting average and allowed just 22 hits and four walks over 29.0 innings in the series, but the Aggies' defense committed 10 errors in the three games.
MORE ON CAL STATE FULLERTON
Cal State Fullerton enters the fray ranked between No. 8 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll) and No. 13 (NCBWA) in the four national polls with a 11-2 mark. At the plate Fullerton is led by Carlos Lopes (.354, 8 RBI, 9 runs), Chad Wallach (.351, 10 RBI), Michael Lorenzen (.347, 4 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI) and Anthony Hutting (.429, 3 HR, 7 RBI). The weekend rotation includes a pair of freshmen in Thomas Eschelman (3-0, 0.87 ERA) and Justin Garza (3-0, 1.27 ERA). In 36 years of Division I baseball, Cal State Fullerton has never had a losing season and the Titans own four national championships (1979, 1984, 1995, 2005). The Titans boast 52 former players who have reached Major League Baseball. The group is headlined by five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove third baseman Tim Wallach who amassed 2085 hits, 432 doubles and 260 home runs during his 17-year career, 16-year veteran Mark Kotsay and All-Stars Phil Nevin and Aaron Rowand.
CHILDRESS CLOSING IN ON 300 WINS
Head Coach Rob Childress enters the weekend with the chance to reach the 300-win plateau. In his eighth year as the skipper of the Aggies, Childress owns a 298-158-2 record. He trails only Mark Johnson (876 - 1985-2005) and Tom Chandler (660 - 1959-84) on A&M's career win list.
AGGIES IN CALIFORNIA
The Aggies are making their fifth trip to California. In their four prior trips, A&M amassed a 9-5 record in 14 games. Last season the Aggies completed a three-game sweep of Pepperdine in Malibu. In 1988, the Aggies went 4-2 at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic hosted by Fresno State. In 1997, A&M lost to Fresno State and Stanford at the NCAA Championsips Stanford Regional. In 2004, the Aggies won two of three games in a series at UCLA. Last year, the Maroon and White swept a three-game series at Pepperdine.
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 two batters on the season and while striking out 20 ... His 80 appearances ranks sixth on A&M's career list ... 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 eighth career start and his fourth career weekend start ... He is the only Aggie weekend starter to win each of his first three starts in 2013 ... In his last 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 seven career starts, he is 6-0 with a 1.33 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 47.1 innings.
SUNDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER: #55 Rafael Pineda
Rafael Pineda is making his 19th career start, all in the weekend rotation ... The junior is looking to rebound from a start in which he walked all four batters he faced before being relieved ... He made his first career relief appearance last Tuesday against Prairie View A&M, working 1.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out two ... He spent the entire 2012 season as the Aggies' Sunday starter, amassing a 5-1 record and 2.71 ERA ... He was saddled with a loss against Fullerton in 2012, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out three over 5.1 innings.
POSTSEASON STREAK CONTINUES IN 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.
SETTING THE TABLE
Batters leading off an inning are hitting .370 (37-for-100) with four doubles, two triples and a .452 on-base percentage for the Aggies. Daniel Mengden has a .750 on-base percentage, going 5-for-8 (.625) with three walks and one hit-by-pitch to lead the way. Krey Bratsen also owns .625 average, going 5-for-8 in his eight 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 14 games on the season. Jonathan Moroney has started 11 games in leftfield. He is hitting .390 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI. Logan Taylor has made seven starts, including three at first base and four and third base. He is hitting .238 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 one run scored. JB Moss has one hit and one run in seven at-bats and Hunter Melton has made one start at first base and is hitless in four at-bats Grayson Long has made four appearances on the mound, including three starts. He is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 16.1 innings. AJ Minter and Andrew Vinson each have five relief appearances for a combined 7.0 shutout innings.
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 1-0 mark with a 1.65 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 16.1 innings. Redshirt freshman Matt Kent has the most appearances with nine, racking up 7.2 frames, with five run for a 5.87 ERA. Junior Jason Jester has three saves, which are all over 1.0 inning in length. True freshmen Andrew Vinson (4.0 IP) and AJ Minter (3.0 IP) 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.
THE BOUNCE BACK
The Aggies are bouncing back from defeats this season, posting a 5-0 record the game after a loss. The rebound wins include a 4-3 victory over UIC one day after a loss (0-2) against the Flames, a 3-1 victory over Pepperdine one day after a loss (3-5) against the Waves, a 9-5 win over Northwestern State two days after a second loss to Pepperdine (1-2), an 8-3 win over No. 12 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic one day after falling to Houston (6-7) at Minute Maid Park and an 8-2 win over Prairie View A&M two days after falling to North Carolina 14-2.
THE GO-GO AGGIES
It's early in the season, but the Aggies' are near school-record pace for stolen bases with 33 through 14 games. The current pace would give A&M 132 through a 56-game season. The school record is 151 set in 2007. Mikey Reynolds leads the team with seven 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.
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 80 appearances. 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.
FEELING THINGS OUT
Still testing things out to find the solid lineup for the meat of the season, head coach Rob Childress has yet to duplicate a lineup in 2013, using 14 different batting orders. Krey Bratsen, Daniel Mengden and Mikey Reynolds are the only three players to start all 14 games and Bratsen and Reynolds are the only two to be in the batting order all 13 games.
The trio of Reynolds, Bratsen and Mengden are also the only three to bat in the same spot in the order more than five times with Reynold leading off all 14 games, Bratsen batting in the No. 2 spot 12 times and Mengden batting third 11 times. The Aggies have had seven different batters hit in the No. 6 hole and seven different batters hit in the No. 9 spot. Blake Allemand has hit in six different spots in the order.
EVERY DAY PITCHER
Redshirt freshman Matt Kent comes to the park ready to pitch every day. The left-hander has appeared in nine of the Aggies' 14 games on the season. Although he started the season as a situational pitcher, Kent, who has thrown five or less pitches in six of his nine outings, pitched 3.0 scoreless innings as the Aggies clawed back into their game against the Houston Cougars to start the Astros Foundation College Classic.
Texas A&M returns to home on March 12 for a 6:35 pm contest against the Houston Baptist Huskies on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The marks the beginning of a five-game homestand, including the opening of SEC action with a three-game series against Georgia on March 15-17.