Aggies Hit Trail to Oregon for NCAA Regional Action

By: Texas A&M Press Release
By: Texas A&M Press Release
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies travel to Corvallis, Oregon to participate in their 29th NCAA Division I Championship The Aggies play the UCSB Gauchos on Friday at 2 pm Central. The Maroon and White are sharing a regional with No. 4 Oregon State and UTSA. Texas A&M is coming off a 2-2 performance at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. The Aggies beat Florida and No. 1 Vanderbilt to start the tournament, before being eliminated with back-to-back losses to No. 13 Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (32-27, 13-16 SEC) vs UCSB GAUCHOS (34-23, 17-10 Big West)
Goss Stadium (3,248) • Corvallis, Oregon
SCHEDULE – Friday, 2 pm Central
RADIO – WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
LIVE VIDEO – ESPN3 and WatchESPN (Tom Hart and Paul LoDuca)
RANKINGS – A&M - unranked • UCSB - unranked
SERIES HISTORY – First Meeting
SERIES STREAK – First Meeting

• Friday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 8-3, 1.84 ERA) vs Austin Pettibone (So., RHP, 9-3, 3.11 ERA)

The Aggies are making their 29th NCAA Championship appearance overall and their seventh in a row. The Aggies are 64-64 all-time in NCAA Championship play, including 55-41 in regional action.

Texas A&M has won regionals in 1993, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011. They also captured a district playoff in 1951 before regional play began.

The Aggies have advanced to the College World Series on five occasions, including 1951, ‘64, ‘93, ‘99 and 2011.

Jason Jester has been solid as the Aggies’ closer this season, going 13-for-15 in save situations. He is 3-3 with 13 saves and a 2.32 ERA on the season. He has allowed 11 earned runs in 42.2 innings of work over 31 appearances, scattering 50 hits and 12 walks while striking out 37. He is holding opponents to a .192 batting average.

In 15 save opportunities, Jester has allowed just one run on 12 hits and four walks while striking out 18 over 22.1 innings. He owns a 0.40 ERA in save situations and holding opponents to a .156 batting average. He has allowed just two of 12 inherited runners to score.

In the Aggies’ series finale against Missouri, Mikey Reynolds had his streak of reaching base snapped at 45 games. The senior has reached base in 56 of his 59 games. The streak began with a 22-game hit streak and ended with a 15-game hit streak. He has hit safely in 51 of 59 games. He is hitting .343 on the season with a .408 on-base percentage, 38 runs, 12 doubles, one triple, one home run, 24 RBI and 18 stolen bases. Reynolds’ 45-game streak of reaching base included three pinch-hit appearances in three games at Arkansas in which he drew a walk and hit two singles.

Mikey Reynolds is the only player in NCAA Division I to log two or more hit streaks of at least 15 games. After going hitless in the first game of the season, Reynolds hit in the next 22 games, the sixth-longest streak in school annals. Later in the year he posted a 15-game hit streak that included back-to-back games with pinch-hit singles in his only at-bats.

Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last 42 games (the Aggies’ last 48 games), Lankford is batting .349 (59-for-169) with 16 multiple hit games, including seven three-hit games. He has 14 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 30 RBI during the span. In the weekend series at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he went 6-for-13 with five RBI. In the series finale against Georgia, Lankford came up just a single shy of hitting for the cycle going 3-for-5 with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run and one RBI. In the series finale against No. 6 Ole Miss, Lankford keyed the Aggies comeback, going 2-for-4 with one double and two runs scored. He batted 5-for-11 against South Carolina, including three hits in the series opener. Lankford batted 7-for-14 with two doubles and two RBI in the three-game series against Auburn. In the last four games of the regular season, Lankford hit .444 (8-for-18) with three doubles, one home run and nine RBI.

The Aggies and Gauchos have never met on the baseball diamond. Texas A&M is 13-13 all-time against current members of the Big West Conference, including 5-7 vs Cal State Fullerton, 3-2 vs Cal State Northridge, 1-2 vs Hawaii, 3-2 vs Long Beach State and 1-0 vs UC Irvine. This season, the Maroon and White lost two of three at Cal State Fullerton.
Texas A&M has had run-ins with the Big West on six prior occasions, posting a 2-4 record. In 1988, the Aggies dropped a 6-3 decision against Cal State Fullerton at the South Regional in Starkville. In 1993, the Maroon and White dropped a 6-2 decision to Long Beach State at the College World Series. In 1999, Long Beach State won two of three meetings at the 1999 College Station Regional and lost a 4-2 decision to Cal State Fullerton at the College World Series.

UC Santa Barbara enters the Corvallis Regional with a 34-23 overall record and the Gauchos finished second in the Big West with a 17-10 record. UCSB has won 11 of their last 14 games

The Gauchos swept a three-game non-conference series against San Jose State and won three-game non-conference series against Fresno State and Sacramento State. UCSB lost non-conference series against Texas and Cal Poly. They also split a four-game series against San Francisco.

The Gauchos won seven of their nine Big West Conference series, including their last six of the season against Long Beach State, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, Pacific and UC Davis.

Key offensive performers for the Gauchos include first baseman Tyler Kuresa who owns team-highs with a .469 slugging percentage and 45 RBI and Robby Nesovic who leads the team in hitting as a freshman with a .343 batting average. Kuresa owns a .304 batting average with 16 doubles, three triples and vie home runs. Nesovic has nine doubles, four home runs and 33 RBI. Woody Woodward is hitting .335 with 32 runs, nine doubles, two triples, one home run and 33 RBI.

Expected Friday starter Austin Pettibone posted a 9-3 record on the year with a 3.11 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 110.0 innings. He has two complete-games and one shutout. Closer Dylan Hecht is 0-2 with eight saves, a 1.93 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. The Gauchos staff has a 3.99 ERA and 352 strikeouts in 501.0 innings.

The Gauchos are making their ninth appearance in the NCAA Championships. Their last appearance came in 2001 at the NCAA South Bend Regional where the Gauchos lost to Florida International (17-4), beat Milwaukee (13-12) and lost to Notre Dame (11-10). UCSB is 6-17 all-time in NCAA tournament play.

UCSB boasts 21 former players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The group is led by 19-year veteran and three-time NL All-Star Chris Speier, seven-time AL All-Star Michael Young and three-time AL All-Star and 2003 AL Cy Young Barry Zito.

Texas A&M is in the midst of its first season in the Southeastern Conference. After 16 seasons in the Big 12 Conference, the Aggies will meet a new set of league mates. This year, A&M will face 10 of 13 possible conference opponents in the regular season, with no series scheduled against Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt this season.

The Aggies are 136-102-3 (.571) against current members of the SEC, including 3-2 vs Alabama, 39-31-1 vs Arkansas, 1-2 vs Auburn, 7-1 vs Florida, 3-0 vs Georgia, 3-1 vs Kentucky, 16-14-1 vs LSU, 6-3 vs Ole Miss, 8-10 vs Mississippi State, 47-32-1 vs Missouri, 0-4 vs South Carolina, 3-1 vs Tennessee, 1-1 vs Vanderbilt. With long-time Big 12 companion Missouri out of the equation, A&M entered 2013 campaign with a 78-52-2 (.595) mark against the old guard. Texas A&M had never faced Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt prior to the 2013 campaign.

The Aggies are 10-18 against teams that made the 2013 NCAA tournament field.

Texas A&M beat Rice, 8-3, early in the season at the Minute Maid Classic but lost the contest the next day against North Carolina, 14-2.

On March 8-10, A&M took one-of-three from Cal State Fullerton on the road. In mid-week games, the Aggies claimed the lone matchup with UTSA, 11-4, and split games with Sam Houston State, 4-1 (W); 9-8 (L; 11 innings).

In the Maroon and White’s first road SEC series, the Aggies captured two seven-inning games from Ole Miss on March 24 to claim the series win. A&M was swept by South Carolina and Mississippi State. The Aggies claimed the series opener in Arkansas, 5-3, before dropping the next two games to lose the series. In a rain-shortened series, Alabama claimed the two games it played against the Aggies with 3-2 scores in both contests. The Aggies were the only team this season to win a series-opening game against LSU. A&M lost the series, however, when it dropped the seven-inning rubber-match 2-1.

At the SEC tournament, A&M won its opening game against Florida, 6-3, and then knocked off top-seeded Vanderbilt, 5-0, before dropping back-to-back games to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in the ninth innings of games this season. In 42.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed five runs, four earned, on 31 hits and 15 walks while striking out 34 for a 0.86 ERA and .205 opponent batting average. Jason Jester leads the way with 21.1 scoreless innings, scattering 10 hits and six walks while striking out 17. Andrew Vinson 9.1 innings worth of ninth-inning work, allowing two runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out 11.

Batters leading off an inning are hitting .303 (139-for-459) with 23 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and a .368 on-base percentage. Daniel Mengden has a .563 on-base percentage, going 13-for-27 (.481) with four walks, one hit-by-pitch, two doubles and three home runs to lead the way. Mikey Reynolds owns a .446 on-base percentage, going 32-for-83 (.386) with six doubles, six walks and three HBP. Cole Lankford has a .391 on-base percentage, batting 15-for-43 (.349) with three doubles, one triple and one home run. Krey Bratsen owns a .390 on-base percentage leading off innings, going 14-for-39 (.359) with one double one home run and two HBP.

The Aggies schedule featured 10 teams in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 for a total of 24 games. The slate was also highlighted by 10 games against four teams in the BA Preseason Top 5 and 16 games against six teams in the BA Preseason Top 10. The Aggies played preseason No. 1 North Carolina and No. 18 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park. They played a non-conference road series at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton. The Aggies had 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. In the NCAA Tournament they played two games against BA Preseason No. 2 Vanderbilt and one game against Mississippi State.

Sixteen teams on Texas A&M’s 2013 schedule were coming off NCAA tournament campaigns.

Of the 16 squads who earned a berth in the field of 64 in ‘13, six hosted regionals and Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina 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 played a total of 35 games against 2012 NCAA tourney teams this spring.

Mitchell Nau has five plate appearances with bases load this season. The sophomore has gone 4-for-5 with bases loaded with seven RBI. Against UT Pan American, Nau had a bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning, but a passed ball on an 0-2 pitch unloaded the bases. As a team, the Aggies have a .324 batting average (22-for-68) and .370 on-base percentage with 54 RBI in 81 plate appearances.

With the Aggies’ midweek win over Houston Baptist on March 12, head coach Rob Childress reached the 300-win plateau for his career. Childress owns a 321-180-2 record, all as the skipper of the Aggies. He trails only Mark Johnson (876 - 1985-2005) and Tom Chandler (660 - 1959-84) on A&M’s career win list.

The Aggies are 1-3 in extra innings this season. Texas A&M beat Georgia, 2-1, in 10 innings in their Saturday affair at Blue Bell Park and lost their Friday night home game against Auburn, 6-4, in 10 innings and road game at Sam Houston State, 9-8, in 11 innings. In a game that was scheduled for seven innings, the Aggies lost a heart-breaking 2-1 decision in eight innings in the rubber match against No. 3 LSU.

With early season slumps and recent injuries head coach Rob Childress has used 51 different batting orders in 59 games this season. Krey Bratsen is the only player to start all 59 games. The last three games of the SEC Tournament mark the first time all season that the same lineup was used in three consecutive games.

Mikey Reynolds, Bratsen and Jace Statum are the only three players to bat in the same spot in the order in more than half the games this season with Reynolds leading off in 51 games, Bratsen batting in the No. 2 spot 42 times and Statum batting ninth on 31 occasions. The Aggies have had 10 different batters hit the No. 7 spot and nine different batters hit in the No. 6 and No. 9 spots. Allemand has hit in seven different spots in the order.

Prior to the arrival of head coach Rob Childress, Texas A&M had never appeared in the NCAA Division I Championship more than four consecutive years. Traveling to Corvallis for the 2013 Regional, the Aggies extended their current string to seven 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 seven 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.

Three Aggies are hitting over .300 in games away from Blue Bell Park. Cole Lankford and Mikey Reynolds are both hitting .330. Lankford has 12 runs, four doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI. Reynolds has 16 runs, six doubles, one triple, eight RBI and four stolen bases. Troy Stein is hitting .305 with 14 runs, six doubles, one triple, four home runs and 11 RBI. Stein leads the team with a .516 slugging percentage on the road.

On the mound away from Blue Bell Park, Parker Ray is 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 appearances, including three starts. He is holding opponents to a .192 batting average over 35.2 innings. Daniel Mengden is 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA and two complete-games with 46 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .201 batting average in 56.2 innings. Jason Jester is 1-2 with three saves and a 2.33 ERA, holding opponents to a .162 batting average and striking out 19 in 19.1 innings.

After a bit of a slow start, Troy Stein has hit .313 (45-for-144) in his last 39 games with 21 runs, seven doubles, two triples, five home runs and 19 RBI. In the first 18 games of the season, Stein played in 15, including 13 starts and hit .260 (13-for-50) with just four runs, three doubles, one triple and three RBI. His slugging percentage (.493) and on-base percentage (.366) over his last 39 games is vastly improved over the numbers he put up in his first 15 games (.360 and .315, respectively).

First 18 games .260 15-13 50 4 13 3 .360 2 2 12 .315 1 1-1
Last 41 games .313 39-39 144 21 45 19 .493 10 2 30 .363 1 3-3

Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons exclusively as a stalwart in the bullpen and one of the pitchers most called upon by Coach Rob Childress. He currently ranks third on A&M’s career list with 95 appearances. Martin has some work ahead of him to move up the list further as he’s chasing Kyle Thebeau’s record of 103 appearances between 2006-09. Estevan Uriegas (2009-12) ranks second with 100 appearances.

The Aggies are 23-10 this season at Blue Bell Park, including a 8-7 mark in SEC action. Six A&M players are hitting over .300 at home, including Mikey Reynolds (.352), Cole Lankford (.333), Hunter Melton (.333), Daniel Mengden (.329), Krey Bratsen (.314) and Jace Statum (.304). Daniel Mengden is 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 50.2 innings in his seven starts at home. Rafael Pineda is 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 47.1 innings in his nine games, including eight starts at home. Jason Jester is 2-1 with a 10 saves, a 2.31 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 23.1 innings over 17 appearances.

With his save in the series opener against LSU, Jason Jester tied the A&M single-season saves record of 13 set by Scott Beerer in 2003.

With 17 stolen bases on the year, junior centerfielder Krey Bratsen moved into third place on the Aggie career stolen base charts with 69. Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98. Chuck Knoblauch (1987-89) is next on the list with 83 steals.

Bratsen stole 31 bases as a freshman, the seventh-best season in school history. Last season, Bratsen racked up 21 stolen bases.

In the last 15 games, Hunter Melton is hitting .339 (21-for-62) with seven runs, two doubles, one triple, four home runs and 12 RBI. Prior to the outburst, the Corsicana-native was hitting just .171 (7-for-41), but he did have two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in the 14 games.

Despite not being named to the SEC Tournament All-Tournament Team, Melton hit two of the only five home runs hit at the tournament. In the Aggies’ four games the freshmen registered hits that gave A&M leads on four occasions.

First 44 games .171 14-12 41 4 7 2 0 2 7 .366 7 0 12 .292
Last 15 games .339 15-15 62 7 21 2 1 4 12 .597 1 1 16 .359

The only player to play in every game for the Aggies, Krey Bratsen has gone through some hot and cold stretches. He’s currently on one of his hot streaks, getting a hit in 11 of the last 13 games and registering a .409 batting average (18-for-44).

Games 1-12 .356 12-12 45 6 16 7 17 .378 2 1 .396 0 4 6-7
Games 13-24 .132 12-12 38 7 5 4 6 .158 6 0 .244 1 5 2-3
Games 25-33 .406 9-9 32 4 13 5 14 .438 4 2 .487 1 4 3-3
Games 34-46 .160 13-13 50 3 8 2 10 .200 2 1 .208 0 3 3-4
Games 47-59 .409 13-13 44 8 18 4 24 .545 0 1 .413 1 1 3-3

Outfielder Jace Statum has raised his batting average 34 points in the last 13 games. Statum played in 37 of the Aggies first 46 games, with 25 starts, hitting .216 with a .243 slugging percentage and .356 on-base percentage. After hitting .324 with a .353 slugging percentage and .425 on-base percentage the last 13 games, he has his season batting average up to .250. Statum’s .324 batting average the last 13 games ranks third on the squad behind only Krey Bratsen’s .409 and Daniel Mengden’s .344.

First 46 games .216 37-25 74 15 16 6 18 .243 16 0 .356 6 6 6-10
Last 13 games .324 13-12 34 6 11 1 12 .353 6 0 .425 0 3 3-4

After going through a stretch in which he went 1-3 with four no decisions over a span of eight starts despite a 2.22 ERA, Daniel Mengden has taking things to the next level over his last four starts. During the stretch, he is 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA and he is holding opponents to a .168 batting average with 30 strikeouts over 34.0 innings. Mengden started the season going 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA and .176 opponent batting average in his first three starts.

First 3 Starts 2.18 3-0 3 3 0 20.2 12 5 5 5 18 .176
Middle 8 Starts 2.22 1-3 8 8 0 52.2 41 18 13 10 43 .214
Last 4 Starts 1.06 4-0 4 4 2 34.0 19 6 4 6 30 .168

Jason Jester is climbing the Aggie single-season appearance list with 31. He is just one of nine players in school history to pitch in 30 or more games. He is currently tied with Joaquin Hinojosa (2011) for eighth place on the list. With his next appearance, Jester will tie Hart Hering (2006) for seventh place.

The Texas A&M Aggies had three players named to the All-SEC team in their first season of affiliation, the league announced on May 28. The Maroon and White also had two players named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.

Krey Bratsen, Daniel Mengden and Mikey Reynolds were all named to the All-SEC Second Team.

Only LSU (6) and Vanderbilt (4) had more players named to the two All-SEC squads. Ole Miss and Mississippi State also had three apiece. Arkansas and South Carolina each had two players named to the teams. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri all had one player selected. Florida and Tennessee were shut out from the teams.

Mengden and Cole Lankford were selected for the SEC All-Defensive Team.

Bratsen was selected as one of the three second-team outfielders. Mengden was picked for the second-team utility/designated hitter spot. Reynolds shared second-team shortstop recognition with Alabama’s Mikey White.

Reynolds and Bratsen join Jason Stephens and Jason Tyner as the only players in school history to earn all-conference honors in two different leagues. Reynolds also earned All-Big 12 Second Team as a shortstop in 2012 and Bratsen garnered All-Big 12 First Team as an outfielder in 2011. Stephens earned All-SWC in 1996 and All-Big 12 in ‘97 and ’98. Tyner was All-SWC in ’96 and All-Big 12 in ’97.

Mengden was selected as the all-defensive team pitcher and Lankford shared first base honors with LSU’s Mason Katz.

The Maroon and White had players earn SEC Rookie of the Week on three occasions in 2013.

Jonathan Moroney garnered the first honor on March 4. He was honored after a weekend in which he was named to the All-Tournament team of the talent-laden Astros Foundation College Classic. He batted .556 (5-for-9) at the tournament with one double, one home run, two runs scored and four RBI on the weekend.

Matt Kent was named freshman of the week on March 25 after working 5.0 scoreless innings of relief in a 10-6 win against then No. 6 Ole Miss. Kent entered the game with A&M trailing 5-2 in the second and kept the Rebels’ prolific bats in check as A&M outscored Ole Miss 8-1 down the stretch. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out three in his 5.0 innings of work.

Hunter Melton earned the award on May 6 after hitting .500 (8-for-16) with two home runs and three multiple hit games in a week in which A&M went 4-0, including a three-game sweep of Missouri.

Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his 20th career start ... Mengden was recently named an All-SEC Second Team player as a utility player/designated hitter ... He also earned SEC Tournament All-Tournament recognition following his complete-game win against Florida ... He was tabbed the SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week on May 13 after holding LSU’s prolific offense to just one run on five hits while striking out five over 8.0 innings in a 2-1 win ... He leads the Aggies with eight victories ... After starting the season 3-0, Mengden had been the tough-luck starter the next eight weekends, going 1-3 with four no-decisions despite posting a 2.22 ERA ... Over the last four weeks he is 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA and .168 opponent batting average, holding opponents to six runs, four earned, on 19 hits and six walks while striking out 30 over 34.0 innings ... As a freshman, he made four weekday starts going 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 26.2 innings ... In his 19 career starts, he is 11-3 with a 1.61 ERA, .193 opponent batting average and 107 strikeouts (22 walks) in 134.0 innings.

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