COLLEGE STATION--The Texas A&M baseball team opens its 106th season with a 20-game homestand that starts this weekend, when the Aggies host Northern Colorado in a four-game series at Olsen Field.
Friday’s season opener begins at 6:30 p.m. The teams will play a 7-inning, 9-inning doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Fans can listen to Friday’s season opener and Sunday’s series finale on the home of Aggie Baseball and the flagship station of Texas A&M Athletics, News/Talk 1620 WTAW.
Due to a conflict with men’s basketball, Saturday’s doubleheader will air locally on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone. Dave South, Scott Clendenin and Chuck Glenewinkel will call the action. All broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
Northern Colorado Bears (0-0) at #20 Texas A&M Aggies (0-0)
Friday, February 22, 6:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, February 23, 1 p.m. CT (DH)
Sunday, February 24, 1 p.m. CT
C.E. “Pat” Olsen Field (7,053) • College Station, Texas
RADIO: WTAW-AM 1620 (Fri/Sun), KZNE-AM 1150 (Sat)
LIVE VIDEO: Aggies All-Access (free)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY: A&M - Kirkland Rivers (Sr., LHP, 2-3, 5.21 ERA in '07) vs. UNC - Chris Reap (Sr., RHP, 2-5, 7.90 ERA in '07)
SATURDAY (GM 1): A&M - Kyle Thebeau (Jr., RHP, 3-6, 4.67 ERA in '07) vs. UNC - T.R. Keating (Sr., RHP, 2-6, 6.14 ERA in '07)
SATURDAY (GM 2): A&M - Barret Loux (Fr., RHP) vs. UNC - Jon Klausing (Sr., LHP, no '07 action)
SUNDAY: A&M - Scott Migl (So., RHP, 7-3, 3.77 ERA in '07) vs. UNC - Dan Kazell (Sr., RHP, 1-2, 6.11 ERA in '07)
Adult Gen. Admission: $7
Youth Gen. Admission: $5
Student Gen. Admission: $4
Ticket Office: (888) 99-AGGIE or (979) 845-2311
Ticket Website: www.aggieathletics.com
Due to the men's basketball game at Reed Arena, general public parking will be altered for Saturday's doubleheader. Parking information is below:
Reserved Parking (Fri-Sun): 100i, 100j, 100k (Olsen)
General Parking (Fri & Sun): 100e, 100g (Reed)
General Parking (Sat): 100e (Reed), 100d (Tennis)
For more information, visit transport.tamu.edu.
Sunday's series finale debuts two popular promotions for fans.
At every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday Aggie baseball game through the month of April, kids 12 and under will receive free admission with a paid adult. There is a limit of four kids per adult and all seats are general admission.
In addition, kids can run the bases following every Sunday game, courtesy Subway.
Throughout the season, fans can also take advantage of the "Pick Six for $50" ticket special. For more information please see page 5 of this release.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M returns six starters and 13 pitchers from a 2007 squad that went 48-19, won the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round.
Last year's Aggie squad made the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I baseball, winning 23 more games than they had in 2006 (25-30-1). The Big 12 tournament championship was the first in school history and the third Big 12 title overall, while the NCAA College Station Regional crown marked the fourth regional championship for the Aggies.
A&M brings back six position starters, including senior 1B Darby Brown (.322, 1 HR, 27 RBI) and junior All-Big 12 DH/1B Luke Anders (.336, 11 HR, 46 RBI). All four players who started a game at third base return, although two–Brian Ruggiano (.255, 1 HR, 14 RBI) and All-American Blake Stouffer (.398, 12 HR, 85 RBI)–have switched positions to catcher and second base, respectively.
The Aggies return the entire outfield, which includes senior LF Ben Feltner (.303, 24 RBI, 34 SB) and junior CF Kyle Colligan (.284, 10 HR, 37 RBI). Eight different players started in right field last year, and all return in 2008.
A&M will have to fill both middle infield positions, with the departure of 2B Parker Dalton and SS Brandon Hicks, as well as the catcher spot after Craig and Josh Stinson finished their careers.
In addition, the Aggies will have to replace 32 of their 48 victories from 2007 on the mound, and they will look to rely on the 13 pitchers returning from last year's roster as well as a talented crop of newcomers to do so.
Heading the returnees are senior LHP Kirkland Rivers (2-3, 5.21 ERA), junior RHP Kyle Thebeau (3-6, 4.67, 6 SV), and sophomore RHPs Scott Migl (7-3, 3.77), Travis Starling (1-0, 1.33) and Clayton Ehlert (1-1, 4.70).
A&M will play its first 20 games at Olsen Field, where it posted a 34-8 record last season and averaged 7.9 runs per game. The Aggies' first scheduled road game is March 21 at Oklahoma State.
Texas A&M is led by head coach Rob Childress, who enters his third season in Aggieland with an overall and career record of 73-49-1.
A QUICK GLANCE: NORTHERN COLORADO
The University of Northern Colorado is located in Greeley, a city of 88,000 about one hour north of Denver.
UNC is one of only two institutions in the state of Colorado that sponsor NCAA Division I baseball (Air Force). By comparison, the state of Texas sports 18 D-1 baseball programs–and the Aggies will face 12 of them in 2008.
The Bears, who are a member of the Big Sky Conference but compete as an independent in baseball, return 17 letterwinners and six starters off last season’s squad that went 16-35. The '07 team hit .277 with 52 home runs and averaged 6.1 runs per game. Senior Adam Symons (.321, 8 HR, 42 RBI) and junior Kevin Sandberg (.285, 9 HR, 41 RBI) are two of the top returning hitters.
The 2007 UNC pitching staff sported a 6.73 ERA and a .344 opponent batting average. The Bears return six of their 15 wins on the mound.
Northern Colorado has been to the NCAA Tournament 21 times (last in 1976). UNC ranks 12th nationally with 10 College World Series appearances, the last coming in 1974.
Northern Colorado is coached by Kevin Smallcomb, who begins his sixth season at the helm this weekend.
The Aggies and Bears have met just three times previous on the baseball diamond, with A&M and then first-year head coach Rob Childress sweeping a three-game series at Olsen Field in 2006.
A&M defeated the Bears, 6-3 and 5-0, in a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 17, and completed the sweep on Sunday, Feb. 19 with a 2-0 shutout. UNC did not score in the final 22 innings of the series.
series history (A&M leads, 3-0)
2/17/2006 College Station W, 6-3
2/17/2006 College Station W, 5-0
2/19/2006 College Station W, 2-0
Just three current Aggies saw action in the series sweep. Senior Blake Stouffer was the only one to record any plate appearances (1-for-5, 2 runs). Junior Kyle Thebeau's first career win came in the middle game of the series (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K), while junior Jordan Chambless struck out the final two batters of the same game ( IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K).
Some of the ties between the Texas A&M and Northern Colorado baseball programs...
• A&M assistant coaches Jeremy Talbot and Andy Sawyers both played for Northern Colorado skipper Kevin Smallcomb at Mendocino College in Ukiah, California, in the mid-1990s.
• UNC pitcher Jon Klausing played for A&M coach Rob Childress (2004 & 2005) and Aggieassistant coach Andy Sawyers (2004-2007) at the University of Nebraska.