It was common knowledge that the SEC had some fantastic baseball teams like South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt (I could keep going but you get the idea), so I was interested to see how A&M would fare in their first season in SEC baseball. The Aggies are by no means a weak team and the Big 12 wasn’t a bad baseball conference, but the SEC is challenging from top to bottom. Last weekend, the unranked Aggies answered some big questions by going into Oxford, Mississippi and winning the series against the #6 Rebels after losing the first game 8-2. On Saturday, the Ags won both games of a double header to prove to everyone that they not only belonged in the SEC for football but were here to win an SEC title too.
College baseball games are usually 9 innings but when the teams are playing back-to-back on the same day, they play two 7-inning games. The first game was a hard fought win that the Aggies pulled out 2-1 thanks to a tremendous pitching performance from Daniel Mengden. Mengden went 5.2 innings giving up only 6 hits, 1 earned run and striking out two before Jason Jester came in to finish the final 1.1 innings without giving up a hit. Catcher Mitchell Nau led Texas A&M offensively by going 2-3 with an RBI single in the first and then a solo homerun in the third, giving the Aggies all the offense they would need.
In the second game of the day, Ole Miss got off to a hot start and knocked A&M starter Jason Freeman out of the game after only 0.1 of an inning. Relief pitcher Parker Ray came in to try to stop the bleeding but the Rebels pushed a total of 5 runs across the plate in the first before everything was said and done. It wasn’t until the 5th and 6th innings that A&M decided they’d come to play. They plated 7 runs in those two innings combined before eventually winning the game 10-6. Going down 5-0 after 1 inning and keeping your head in the game is not easy but the Ags showed a lot of heart by refusing to give up.
This weekend, A&M travels to Columbia, South Carolina for a series against the #14 Gamecocks. If A&M can take 2 of 3 again from SC, they will be at the top of the SEC, setting up big showdowns with LSU and Arkansas later in the season.