The #18 Aggie baseball team struggled again over the weekend series, this time at home in College Station, dropping 2 of 3 to the Auburn Tigers. A&M is now 20-13 overall, 6-6 in the SEC and Auburn is 19-13 overall, 3-9 in SEC-play. On Friday night, the Tigers overcame a 2-0 deficit for most of the game by scoring 2 in the 7th and 1 more in the 8th to ultimately send it to extra innings tied at 3. They got 2 runs off of Aggie relief pitcher Andrew Vinson in the 10th and then 1 more off of Zach Brashear, which was enough for the eventual win as they topped the Aggies 6-4. A&M starter Daniel Mengden had yet another fantastic outing as he went 7 innings, giving up no ER and striking out 5. A&M got 2 runs off of Auburn starter Conner Kendrick in his 6.1 inning effort and 1 more off of reliever Terrance Dedrick but it wasn’t enough. Offensively, the charge was led by 1B Cole Langford (3-5) and 3B Blake Allemand (1-4, BB, 2R, RBI).
A&M looked to bounce back in the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon, but Aggie starter Grayson Long wasn’t as sharp as A&M fans had hoped and the Aggies found themselves down 9-0 after only 4 innings. The Aggies would fight hard but again, fall short by the count of 10-5. Allemand and Langford had big days again with a combined 5 hits, 2 RBIs, and a run, and CF Krey Bratsen stepped up offensively as well, going 2-4 with 2 R.
Rafael Pineda started the 3rd and final game of the series for the Ags on Sunday afternoon and threw an absolute gem. In 7.2 innings of work, he gave up only 6 hits, 1 ER, and struck out 3 with 103 pitches. Relief pitchers A.J.Minter and Jason Jester came in to clean things up, only giving up 1 more hit in the remaining 1.1 innings. Allemand had another huge game going 2-2 with a BB, RBI, and 2 R. SS Mikey Reynolds and J.B. Moss (PR for Mitchell Nau) tallied the other 2 runs. This third game was Aggie baseball at its finest and they will need to continue this type of play if they hope to make a run to the CWS.
I’d like to see more production out of the 5-6 spots in the lineup, and I think if Brandon Wood and Jonathan Moroney can get out of this mini-funk they’re in and start driving in the top of the order hitters that are consistently getting on base, A&M can be right back in the thick of things in the SEC. They also need to find a 3rd starter that can consistently keep A&M in tight games. Mengden and Pineda have looked great all season but out of Freeman, Long, and Martin, none has been able to lock down that 3rd starter role.
A&M gets back in action for a 3-game series against Mississippi State at Blue Bell Park this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 Friday, 12:05 Saturday, and 1:05 Sunday so come on out and cheer the boys on! There are only 8 home games remaining in the 2013 and they are sure to be exciting as the Ags make a final push to the post-season.