COLLEGE STATION -- The 22nd-ranked Texas A&M baseball team (11-3) begins the final week of its season-opening 20-game homestand when the Aggies host Centenary (9-2) in a mid-week series at Olsen Field. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 6:30 p.m., and Wednesday's finale will begin at 3 p.m.
A&M concluded a 4-1 week with a series victory over defending Big East champion Rutgers this past weekend. Meanwhile, Centenary swept a four-game series from Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Shreveport.
The series marks the final tune-up for the Aggies before they begin Big 12 play on Friday at Olsen Field against Texas Tech.
Fans can catch every pitch on the home of Aggie Baseball and the flagship station of Texas A&M Athletics, News/Talk 1620 WTAW. Dave South, Scott Clendenin and Chuck Glenewinkel will call the action. All broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
Centenary GENTS (9-2) at #22 Texas A&M AGGIES (11-3)
Tuesday, March 11 - 6:30 p.m. CDT
Wednesday, March 12 - 3 p.m. CDT
C.E. “Pat” Olsen Field (7,053) • College Station, Texas
RADIO: WTAW-AM 1620
LIVE VIDEO: Aggies All-Access (free)
ADULT GEN. ADMISSION $7
YOUTH GEN. ADMISSION $5
STUDENT GEN. ADMISSION $4
TICKET OFFICE (888) 99-AGGIE or (979) 845-2311
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RESERVED PARKING 100i, 100j, 100k (Olsen)
GENERAL PARKING 100e, 100g (Reed)
MEDIA PARKING (PASS REQUIRED) 100i (Olsen)
for more information visit transport.tamu.edu.
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Fans are encouraged to bring new and used baseball equipment to the games this week, as the Diamond Darlings will be collecting the gear to benefit the Bryan Little League. In exchange for a donation, fans will receive a voucher for a discounted ticket to selected upcoming Texas A&M home games.
In addition, the new “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” ticket promotion is in effect for both games, through which 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.
On Wednesday, those in attendance can take advantage of the "Dinner at the Diamond" promotion, which offers fans two slices of pizza and a drink for $3.
Throughout the season, fans can also take advantage of the "Pick Six for $50" ticket special. For more information contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 888-99-AGGIE or online at aggieathletics.com.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M enters the week at 11-3 and has won 10 of its last 11, including a pair of victories over Nicholls State and a series victory over Rutgers at Olsen Field.
The Aggies have pounded out double-figure hits in seven of the last 10 games, including a season-best 15 in Wednesday's win over the Colonels. A&M is also finding its power stroke–after hitting a total of two home runs in the season's first seven games, the Aggies have hit nine in the last seven contests.
For the season, Texas A&M is hitting .320 and averaging 7.4 runs per game. The offense has already pounded out 51 extra-base hits (26 doubles, 14 triples and 11 home runs) while stealing 30 bases.
Senior third baseman Dane Carter (.491, 3 HR, 14 RBI) leads the team in 10 offensive categories and enters the Centenary series on a career-long 12-game hit streak. Carter totaled 14 hits in the Aggies' five games last week. Three other starters (Luke Anders, José Duran and Kyle Colligan) are hitting over .300 for the year.
On the mound, the Aggies boast a Big 12-best 2.98 ERA. A&M pitching is averaging 9.3 strikeouts per game and is holding opposing hitters to a .218 average. Sophomore Shane Minks (3-0, 2.08 ERA), who will start Tuesday's game, leads the team and the league in victories along with fellow sophomore Carson Middleton (3-0, 0.55 ERA). Sophomore Travis Starling (7 appearances, 1.23 ERA) has a team-best four saves. The Aggie bullpen has been very strong over the first two weeks of the year, posting a 5-2 record, 2.36 ERA and .219 opponent average.
A QUICK GLANCE: CENTENARY
Centenary, which competes in the Summit League, is off to a hot start having won four straight and boasting a 9-2 overall record.
The Gents, who were picked to finish third in the league behind Oral Roberts and Western Illinois, return 16 letterwinners off a 2007 squad that went 28-31 and finished fourth in the Summit.
As a team, Centenary is hitting .318 on the season with three home runs and 61 RBI, averaging 6.2 runs per game. On the mound, the pitching staff has a 2.86 ERA and has fanned 66 batters in 88 innings of work.
Senior infielder Teddy Saenz (.455, 1 HR, 8 RBI) and junior outfielder Jamar Tabor (.406, 4 RBI, 10 runs) are the offensive leaders, while the Gents' pitching staff is paced by lefties Johnny Noland (Sr., 2-1, 1.50 ERA) and Dakota Robinson (So., 3-0, 1.69), who will start Wednesday's game.
Centenary is led by ninth-year coach Ed McCann.
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college located in Shreveport, Louisiana. Founded in 1825, it has an enrollment of 938 students.
Texas A&M and Centenary first met on the baseball diamond in 1926, and the two schools have played 15 times since. The Aggies, who have won 10 in a row, lead the series 15-1.
After the schools met twice a season for three years in the early '80s, the series took a hiatus before resuming with a home-and-home in 2002 and 2003.
The most recent meeting was five years ago to the day(s), as the Aggies defeated the Gents at Olsen Field on March 11 & 12 of 2003. A&M first baseman Brian Bowe totaled six hits and seven RBI in the two-game sweep.
Texas A&M rallied to take two-of-three games and the series from defending Big East champion Rutgers this past weekend at Olsen Field.
The Aggies dropped Friday night's opener, 10-8, to snap an eight-game win streak. The Scarlet Knights scored five runs off the A&M bullpen in the seventh to take an 8-5 lead. Then, after the Aggies tied it in the bottom half of the frame, Rutgers added two unearned runs in the eighth to get the victory.
Saturday featured a pitcher's duel, won by freshman Brooks Raley and A&M by a score of 2-1. In his first career start, Raley punched out 10 and tossed 7 innings of shutout ball. In all, both teams' staffs combined for 21 strikeouts and 10 hits allowed for the game.
In Sunday's finale, the Aggies scored seven runs in the first three innings and Carson Middleton shut down the Scarlet Knights' comeback attempt in a 12-3 victory. The sophomore closed the game with 4 innings of shutout relief, while Luke Anders tied career highs with four hits and five RBI on the day.
RALEY NAMED BIG 12 CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Freshman Brooks Raley (Uvalde, Texas) was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Week by a select media panel, the league office announced Monday.
Raley struck out 10 over 7 innings of shutout baseball in his first career start on Saturday night to lead the Aggies to a 2-1 win over defending Big East champ Rutgers. He faced four batters over the minimum on the night, and allowed just two baserunners into scoring position—stranding both. The lefty allowed only eight balls to leave the infield on the night—the three hits and five fly ball outs.
On the season, Raley sports a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA. Through 15 innings of work, he has fanned 17 and is holding opponents to a .157 batting average.
He became the 16th pitcher in A&M history to earn the award.
The Aggie baseball team has won 16 straight mid-week non-conference contests, including the first four on the slate in 2008.
A&M won all 10 mid-week games last season and the final two of the 2006 campaign. The Aggies' last loss in mid-week action was on April 18, 2006, a 9-6 setback to No. 19 Houston at Olsen Field.
CARTER ON A TEAR
Senior third baseman Dane Carter has started the 2008 season on a hot streak at the plate.
He has hit safely in a career-high 12 consecutive games, 13 of the Aggies' 14 overall, and has reached base safely (hit or walk) in all 14.
In addition, he leads the team in 10 offensive categories: average (.491), runs (15), hits (27), doubles (4), triples (4), home runs (3), RBI (14), total bases (48), slugging percentage (.873) and on-base percentage (.540).
He is the Big 12's leader in average, hits, triples and on-base percentage.
The only game in which Carter did not record a hit was the first game of the doubleheader against Northern Colorado on Feb. 23, although he did walk and score a run.
Carter has scored a run in all but four games in 2008.
Texas A&M has already hit a whopping 14 triples over the first 14 games of the season. A closer look at this accomplishment:
• Last season's team hit 20 triples in 67 games. If the '08 Aggies were to keep up their current pace they would finish the regular season with 56.
• The Aggies set a school record two weeks ago with three triples in each of three consecutive games (McNeese State, Ohio State, Arkansas). What makes this feat even more impressive is that the last time a Texas A&M team had three triples in ANY game before last week was on April 11, 1999, when the Aggies defeated Kansas State 7-2 in St. Joseph, Mo.–a stretch of 519 games.
• Senior third baseman Dane Carter had two triples in the Feb. 26 win over McNeese State, the first time an Aggie had two triples in one game since Chad Hudson on May 21, 1999 in a 10-3 win over Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.
• Carter, along with José Duran, has four triples on the season, just five shy of the single-season school record (9, Brian Thomas, 1993).
FLIPPING THE POWER SWITCH
The Aggies have hit 11 home runs on the young season, and most of that power punch has come in the last week.
Over the first seven games, Texas A&M hit a total of two home runs. In the last seven, the Aggies have totaled nine.
TURN, TURN, TURN...TURN
Texas A&M tied a school record with four double plays in the Feb. 27 win over Nicholls State.
While the feat has been accomplished often, the last time the Aggies did turn four double plays in one game was against Clemson in the NCAA Super Regional championship on June 6, 1999 (499 games ago).
A STRONG PEN
The Texas A&M bullpen has been very impressive in the first two weeks of the season.
A total of 13 Aggies have seen action in relief, posting a combined 2.36 ERA and picking up four wins and three saves. In 53 innings of work, opposing teams have managed just 42 hits (.219 average) and 14 earned runs while striking out 56 times.
POUNDING THE ZONE
Texas A&M pitchers have struck out 128 batters while walking 48 in their 124 innings of work thus far, or a 2.7 K/BB ratio–third best in the Big 12. In 2007, A&M's pitching corps posted a 2.1 K/BB mark for the full season.
The Aggie staff, which has fanned eight or more batters in all but two games in 2008, is averaging a league-best 9.33 strikeouts per nine innings.
STOUFFER ON TRACK
Senior All-American Blake Stouffer had a tough start to the 2008 campaign, but has quietly climbed near the top of the Aggies' RBI leaderboard.
Stouffer started the year hitless in his first 13 at-bats, a stretch which included multiple line-outs to and diving catches by opposing defenders.
Since his first base hit of the year against McNeese State (Feb. 26), the San Antonio native is hitting .333 (10-for-30) with seven runs scored, three doubles and 11 RBI.
A LONG TIME COMING
A pair of Aggie pitchers completed the long road back from shoulder injuries this spring to step back on the mound at Olsen Field.
Senior right-hander Blake Rampy tossed 2 innings on Feb. 26 against McNeese State, allowing three hits and one earned run.
While that might not sound like a big deal, it is for Rampy–his last outing prior to then was on April 26, 2005, a span of 1,037 days.
Junior Jordan Chambless struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth inning of the March 4 win over Nicholls State--three days before his 23rd birthday. It was his first action since Feb. 27, 2007.
AGGIES ON THE TUBE
No stranger to national exposure, the Texas A&M baseball team will appear on television at least seven times in 2008.
The Aggies have won their first three televised games of the year, all on COX Sports Television.
FOX College Sports, available on digital cable outlets across the country, will broadcast the April 13 series finale with Oklahoma and the May 16 series opener at Texas.
In addition, FOX Sports Net will broadcast the April 27 series finale against Missouri live from Olsen Field and CSTV will air the May 10 game between A&M and Nebraska in Lincoln.
As always, fans can get complete and up-to-date television broadcast information on aggieathletics.com.
AGGIES ON THE 'NET
For the sixth straight season, AggieAthletics.com will bring fans around the globe live video of Texas A&M baseball.
Fans will be able to watch, free of charge, all non-televised Aggie home games, along with selected road games, through the new Aggies All-Access.
If live video of an A&M game is not available, free live audio will be provided through All-Access.
The highly-popular Aggies All-Access is in its second season of bringing live game action, television shows, highlights and much more to A&M fans around the world. Aggies All-Access is the most-watched channel on the CSTV.com network.
AGGIES PEGGED FOURTH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
Texas A&M was picked to finish fourth in the 2008 Big 12 baseball race according to a vote of the league’s head coaches.
Defending regular-season champion Texas (80 points) was pegged the league favorite for the seventh straight year and received eight of the possible 10 first-place votes. The Longhorns edged out second-place Missouri, which earned 71 points, including one first-place tally. Baylor, who also claimed a first-place vote, was ranked third followed by A&M, Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Filling the remaining spots in the preseason poll were Kansas State, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Tech.