A&M Heads to Oxford for Series Versus No. 6 Ole Miss

The Texas A&M Aggies take a season-long five-game win streak on the road as they face the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels in a three-game series in Oxford. The squads meet in a 6:30 pm game on Friday, a 7:30 pm game to be televised on ESPNU on Saturday and a 1:30 pm contest on Sunday. It marks first SEC road trip for A&M, coming off a series sweep of Georgia in their first-ever SEC action last weekend at Olsen Field.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (15-7, 3-0 SEC) vs OLE MISS REBELS (20-2, 2-1 SEC)

Swayze Field at Oxford-University Stadium (10,323) • Oxford, Mississippi

SCHEDULE - Friday, 6:30 pm • Saturday, 7:30 pm • Sunday, 1:30 pm
TELEVISION - Saturday - ESPNU (Mike Morgan and Kyle Peterson)
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
LIVE VIDEO - olemisssports.com (Friday and Sunday)
LIVE AUDIO - aggieathletics.com • radioaggieland.com
LIVE STATS - olemisssports.com
RANKINGS - Texas A&M - 24th (CB) • Ole Miss - 6 (BA), 6 (CB), 8 (NCBWA), 8 (USAT)
SERIES HISTORY - Texas A&M leads 4-2
SERIES STREAKS - Ole Miss is on a one-game streak

• Friday - Kyle Martin (Sr., RHP, 2-2, 3.52) vs. Bobby Wahl (Jr., RHP, 5-0, 1.82)
• Saturday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 3-1, 1.82) vs. Mike Mayers (Jr., RHP, 2-1, 2.79)
• Sunday - Jason Freeman (So., RHP, 1-0, 1.23) vs. Sam Smith (So., RHP, 2-0, 2.49)

Mikey Reynolds has a hit in each of his last 21 games, the longest string of his career and tied with Ben Keltner for seventh on the Aggies’ all-time list. He is hitting .464 (39-for-84) during the span five doubles, 17 runs, 11 RBI and 11 stolen bases. The streak features 12 multi-hit games, including four three-hit games and one four-hit game. He has logged a first-inning hit in nine of the games. He has also reached safely in all 22 games. Reynolds still has some work to do for the school record. RJ Englert strung together a 28-game hit streak in 1972. In more recent history, Tyler Naquin logged a 27-game hit streak in 2011.

Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last 10 games (the Aggies’ last 11 games), Lankford is batting .419 (18-for-43) with six multiple hit games, four doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBI. In the weekend series at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he went 6-for-13 with five RBI. In the last five games, Lankford has three 3-hit games, going 3-for-5 each time. 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.

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 304-160-2 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.

This marks the seventh meeting between the two schools with Texas A&M owning a 4-2 all-time advantage. The squads first met in 1907 with A&M posting a 4-0 lead. After a 91-year hiatus, the series resumed with a three-game series in College Station in 1998. Ole Miss won the first game of the series, 17-3, but A&M bounced back for 6-3 and 3-2 victories to take the series. The Aggies toppled the Rebels 13-7 at the 1999 NCAA College Station Regional. Ole Miss is the last SEC squad the Aggies played before entering the SEC, losing to the Rebels 6-3 at the 2012 NCAA College Station Regional.

Ole Miss is one of the hottest teams in the country entering the series. The Rebels are 20-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. Junior catcher Stuart Turner has been on a tear to start the season, hitting .474 (36-for-76) with 17 runs, nine doubles, one triple, two home runs and 30 RBI in 22 games. Junior Preston Overbey is hitting .333 (24-for-72) with 12 runs, two doubles, one triple, two home runs and 16 RBI. Junior Austin Anderson (21), sophomore Auston Boudfield (22) and sophomore Tanner Mathis (20) all have 20 or more runs. The Rebels pitching staff owns a 2.42 ERA and holding opponents to a .227 ERA. Friday night starter Bobby Wahl is 5-0 with a 1.82 ERA. Closer Brett Huber is 2-0 with six saves.

The Rebels have advanced to the College World Series on four occasions, with the most recent appearance coming in 1972. Ole Miss won the 2009 SEC title, the sixth all-time, and most recently the Rebels won the league title in 2006. Ole Miss boasts 40 former players who reached the Major Leagues. The group is led by six-time MLB All-Star and two-time Gold Glove shortstop Don Kessinger and current Cardinals’ All-Star right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn.

This season, eight pitchers have taken the mound as Aggies for the first time, including three true freshmen. The eight pitchers have combined to allow 14 earned runs on 54 hits and 31 walks over 72.0 innings. True freshman Grayson Long leads the group, posting a 3-0 mark with a 2.35 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 23.0 innings. Redshirt freshman Matt Kent is 1-1 in 11 appearances, racking up 9.2 frames, with five runs for a 4.66 ERA. Junior Jason Jester is 2-0 with six saves. He hasn’t yielded a run in 16.1 innings of work, scattering seven hits and three walks while striking out 16. True freshman AJ Minter (3.2 IP) and sophomore transfer Nate Sorenson (0.1 IP) are unscathed on the year. Sophomore transfer Zach Brashear has allowed two unearned runs over 5.1 innings and redshirt freshman Ty Schlottmann has allowed one unearned run over 2.2 innings. True freshman Andrew Vinson has allowed three earned runs in 9.1 innings of work.

Jace Statum has been a catalyst at the bottom of the order the last six games. He has a .667 on-base percentage over the span with seven hits, seven walks and two sacrifice bunts in 23 plate appearances. He is batting .500 (7-for-14) with five runs, three RBI and two stolen bases over the five games. In the first 16 games of the season, Statum played in 12 games with just seven starts. He logged a .320 on-base percentage and .227 batting average (5-for-22) with five runs, three RBI and two stolen bases over the first 16 games.

First 16 games .227 12-7 22 5 5 3 .318 3 0 3 .320 1 2-3
Last 5 games .500 6-6 14 5 7 3 .500 7 0 1 .667 2 2-4

It’s early in the season, but the Aggies’ are on a brisk pace for stolen bases with 44 through 22 games. The current pace would give A&M 112 through a 56-game season. The school record is 151 set in 2007. Mikey Reynolds leads the team with 11 steals followed by Krey Bratsen with eight. Blake Allemand has seven steals and Charlie Curl and Jace Statum have chipped in with four apiece. Last season, A&M tallied 129 stolen bases which ranks third on the Aggies’ all-time chart.

Still testing things out to find the solid lineup for the meat of the season, head coach Rob Childress has yet to duplicate a lineup in 2013, using 22 different batting orders. Krey Bratsen, Daniel Mengden and Mikey Reynolds are the only three players to start all 22 games and Bratsen and Reynolds are the only two to be in the batting order all 21 games.

The trio of Reynolds and Bratsen are also the only two to bat in the same spot in the order more than 11 times with Reynolds leading off all 22 games and Bratsen batting in the No. 2 spot 20 times. The Aggies have had nine different batters hit the No. 7 spot and eight different batters hit in the No. 6 spot. A&M has also had seven different batters hit in the No. 9 spot. Blake Allemand has hit in six different spots in the order.

The Aggies schedule features eight teams in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 for a total of 20 games. The slate also highlights seven games against three teams in the BA Preseason Top 5 and 13 games against five teams in the BA Preseason Top 10. The Aggies play preseason No. 1 North Carolina and No. 18 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park. They have a non-conference road series at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton. They have 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.

The Aggies are 1-0 in extra innings this season. Texas A&M beat Georgia 2-1 in 10 innings in their Saturday affair at Blue Bell Park.

Now the Aggies’ Friday night starter, Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons as a stalwart in the bullpen. He currently ranks fifth on A&M’s career list with 82 appearances. With his anticipated start on Friday, Martin will move into a tie with Kyle Nicholson (83 - 2004-07) for fourth place on the career list. It will be a harder record to reach as a starter, but he’s chasing Kyle Thebeau’s record of 103 appearances between 2006-09.

With eight stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into fourth place on the Aggies career stolen bases charts with 60. He is three steals shy third place, trailing No. 3 Steven Truitt (63 - 1997-99). Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98.

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

After 77 relief appearances in his first three seasons, senior Kyle Martin made his first collegiate start on opening night ... Despite a no-decision and a team loss in the opener, Martin tallied career-highs with 6.2 IP and 10 strikeouts and the two runs he allowed were unearned ... He has walked just six batters on the season and while striking out 24 over 24.1 innings ... in his last start, he topped No. 8 Cal State Fullerton allowing just one run on six hits and two walks while striking out four over 6.2 innings ... His 82 appearances ranks fifth on A&M’s career list, one shy of fourth place ... Last season Martin served as the Aggies’ closer, going 6-5 with seven saves and a 3.20 ERA ... He was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention as a junior.

Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his 10th career start and his sixth weekend start ... He leads the Aggies with three victories ... Last week, he got no-decision despite holding Georgia to just one run while striking out eight over 8.0 innings ... On the road against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he was saddled with a loss despite allowing just two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out six over 6.0 innings ... In his third outing he went a career-long with 8.0 IP against No. 12 Rice and equaled a career-high eight strikeouts ... He also had eight strikeouts in a win against Pepperdine in the second week of the season ... As a freshman, he made four weekday starts going 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 26.2 innings ... He twice pitched 7.0 innings, including an effort at Sam Houston State where he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings, scattering six hits while striking out four ... In his nine career starts, he is 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.

Sophomore Jason Freeman will be making his third career start and second career weekend start ... His two longest outings are each of the last two times out, 2.2 innings of relief against Houston Baptist and a 4.2 inning Sunday start against Georgia ... In the Aggies’ Sunday win against Georgia, he allowed just two unearned runs on six hits and one walk while fanning two over 4.2 innings ... His only other career start lasted just 1.0 inning, giving up two runs on one hit and three walks while striking out one against Northwestern State on Feb. 28, 2012 ... His first career win came in relief against Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 21, 2012, striking out three of the six batters he faced in 2.0 innings ... This season, his lone win came in relief against Northwestern State, allowing one hit while striking out two in 1.1 shutout innings against Northwestern State on Feb. 27.

The Aggies own a 13-3 record in home games during the 2013 campaign, led by a pitching staff which boasts a 1.80 ERA. Grayson Long leads the way with a 3-0 record and 1.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Daniel Mengden owns a 1.31 ERA and 2-0 mark in three starts on the Olsen Field mound. He has yielded just three runs on 14 hits and one walk while striking out 18 over 20.2 innings. Freshman Jason Jester is 2-0 with five saves at home, working 13.0 shutout innings, scattering seven hits and two walks while striking out 11. Mikey Reynolds is hitting .413 with 10 runs, nine RBI and nine steals in 16 home games. Mengden is batting .327 with nine runs, one double, one triple, one home run and eight RBI in 14 games.

The Aggies had eight true freshmen make appearances through 22 games on the season. Jonathan Moroney has started 18 games in leftfield. He is hitting .308 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and 11 RBI. Logan Taylor has made eight starts, including three at first base and five at third base. He is hitting .208 with two doubles and four runs scored. JB Moss has two hits and three runs in 10 at-bats and Hunter Melton has made one start at first base and is hitless in four at-bats Grayson Long has made six appearances on the mound, including four starts. He is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 23.0 innings. AJ Minter has worked 4.1 scoreless innings over eight appearances, scattering four hits and three walks while fanning three. Andrew Vinson has allowed three runs while fanning 10 over 9.1 innings for a 2.89 ERA in seven outings.

A&M has outscored opponents 29-10 in the first inning this season. The Aggies have scored 27.9% (29 of 104) of their runs in the first frame. The Maroon and White are batting .378 (37-for-98) and own a .461 on-base percentage in the first inning of games. Mikey Reynolds leads the squad with six runs and nine hits (.450 - 9-for-20) in the opening frame. Cole Lankford has nine RBI in the first inning, going 5-for-10 (.500) with one double, one triple and one RBI. Daniel Mengden is batting .467 (7-for-15) with one triple and five runs.

Texas A&M pitchers have yet to allow an earned run in ninth innings of games this season. In 19.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed one unearned run on 13 hits and seven walks while striking out 16. Jason Jester leads the way with 10.2 scoreless innings, scattering five hits and two walks while striking out eight. Andrew Vinson worked 3.2 blank frames, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out five.

The Aggies are 7-0 in midweek action this season, winning the games by a combined margin of 43-15. The pitching staff owns a 2.14 ERA, holding foes to a .203 batting average. Grayson Long (3-0) and Corey Ray (2-0) have started all seven of the games. Troy Stein is hitting .556 (5-for-9). Jonathan Moroney (.412) and Mikey Reynolds (.400) are both hitting .400 or better. Daniel Mengden, Mitchell Nau and Cole Lankford have six RBI apiece.

Jason Jester has been lights out as the Aggies’ closer this season. He is 2-0 with six saves on the season. He has yet to allow an earned run in 17.1 innings of work over 12 appearances, scattering seven hits and three walks while striking out 16. He is holding opponents to a .119 batting average, including just one extra-base double.

The Aggies are on pace for a school-record sacrifice bunts. With 28 bunts through 22 games, A&M is on pace for 71 sac bunts for the year. The school record is 55 in 2011. Last year, the Aggies put down 50 sacrifice bunts. Krey Bratsen leads the squad with eight sacrifice bunts. Charlie Curl has added five and Blake Allemand has four.

Texas A&M returns to Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park on Tuesday for a 6:35 pm game against UT Arlington.

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