Aggies Host Prairie View A&M for Tuesday Tilt

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – As the regular-season approaches the quarter pole, the Aggies are looking to pick up their ninth win of the year as the host the Prairie View A&M Panthers. The Maroon and White are hoping to capitalize on a midweek home game during a stretch in which 12 of 19 games are on the road. The Aggies are 4-0 in midweek games in 2013, outscoring foes by a combined score of 27-9.

Mikey Reynolds has a hit in each of his last 12 games, the longest string of his career. He is hitting .500 (24-for-48) during the span with two doubles, 10 runs and 10 RBI during the span. The streak features seven multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and one four-hit game. He has logged a first-inning hit in six of the games. He has also reached safely in all 13 games. Krey Bratsen (11 games) and Daniel Mengden (nine games) had career-long hit streaks snapped during the weekend.

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The Aggies are 4-0 all-time in their series against Prairie View A&M. The teams first met in 2009 and have played one game each season since then. The Aggies have won the games by a combined score of 49-11. Last season, Texas A&M posted a 10-1 win over the Panthers. Jace Statum went 4-for-5 with two runs, one double and one RBI in the win.

Prairie View A&M enters the fray with a 7-6 mark, including a 2-1 mark in SWAC action. Last season, the Panthers went 28-25 and earned thier third NCAA Championship bid by winning the SWAC Tournament championship. The Panthers played two close games at the Houston Regional, losing to Rice 3-2 and Sam Houston State 4-2. Head coach Waskyla Cullivan has the Panthers headed in the direction with two consecutive winning seasons. His career record is 93-112 (.454) in his sixth season. The Panthers boast three former players who went on to play Major League Baseball, headlined by 12-year veteran Steve Henderson and seven-year hurler Charles Hudson who shined as a rookie for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1983 NLCS at Veterans Stadium, pitching a complete-game with nine strikeouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 7-2 victory in Game 3, giving the Phillies a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series.

• Head coach Rob Childress is in his eighth season at the helm of the Texas A&M baseball program, beginning the year with a 297-158-2 record. Last season, he led the Aggies to the postseason for a school-record sixth-consecutive season.
• Texas A&M welcomes back 17 letterwinners, including five positional starters, from last season’s 43-18 team that advanced to the NCAA Championship. The Aggies return two All-Big 12 Second Team performers in Troy Stein (C) and Mikey Reynolds. They are joined by Blake Allemand (INF) and Kyle Martin (RHP) who garnered All-Big 12 Honorable Mention a year ago. Allemand and Chance Bolcerek were Big 12 All-Freshman selections.

Grayson Long is scheduled to make his third career start on Wednesday ... He was brilliant in his first career start, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five in a win against Texas Southern ... The freshman made his collegiate debut in the Aggies 5-1 win over UIC on the second day of the season ... Long pitched a scoreless eighth inning against the flames, allowing two baserunners (one BB, one HBP), but he got out of the inning unscathed with a pair of strikeouts ... In his last start, he allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out two, but only managed 4.2 innings and was left with a no decision in the 2-1 victory.

Prior to the arrival of head coach Rob Childress, Texas A&M had never appeared in the NCAA Tournament more than four consecutive years. Hosting an NCAA Regional in 2012 extended the Aggies current string to six 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 six 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.

Batters leading off an inning are hitting .362 (34-for-94) with three doubles, two triples and a .439 on-base percentage for the Aggies. Krey Bratsen leads the way with a .625 average (5-for-8). Daniel Mengden has a .727 on-base percentage, going 4-for-7 (.571) with one walk and one hit-by-pitch. Mikey Reynolds owns a .619 on-base percentage, going 10-for-18 (.556) with two walks and one hit-by-pitch.

It’s early in the season, but the Aggies’ are near school-record pace for stolen bases with 31 through 13 games. The current pace would give A&M 134 through a 56-game season. The school record is 151 set in 2007. Krey Bratsen and Mickey Reynolds share the team lead with six steals apiece. Blake Allemand has five steals and Charlie Curl has chipped in with four. Last season, A&M tallied 129 stolen bases which ranks third.

The Aggies had eight true freshmen make appearances through 13 games on the season. Jonathan Moroney has started 11 games in leftfield. He is hitting .351 with two doubles, one triple and eight RBI. Logan Taylor has made seven starts, including three at first base and four and third base. He is hitting .238 with two doubles and four runs scored. Cory Raley made one start in rightfield and two appearances as a pinch-runner. He is hitting .333 with one run scored. JB Moss has one hit and one run in seven at-bats and Hunter Melton has made one start at first base and is hitless in four at-bats Grayson Long has made three appearances on the mound, including two starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and nine strikeouts over 11.1 innings. Andrew Vinson has made four appearances and AJ Minter has four for a combined 5.2 shutout innings.

This season, eight pitchers have taken the mound as Aggies for the first time, including three true freshmen. The seven pitchers have combined to allow seven earned runs on 35 hits and 13 walks over 35.2 innings. True freshman Grayson Long leads the group, posting a 1-0 mark with a 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings. Redshirt freshman Matt Kent has the most appearances with nine, racking up 7.2 frames, with five run for a 5.87 ERA. Junior Jason Jester has three saves, which all both over 1.0 innings. True freshmen Andrew Vinson (2.0 IP) and AJ Minter (2.2 IP) and sophomore transfer Nate Sorenson (0.1 IP) are unscathed on the year. Sophomore transfer Zach Brashear has allowed two unearned runs over 4.1 innings and redshirt freshman Ty Schlottmann has allowed one unearned run over 2.2 innings.

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.

Fourteen teams on Texas A&M’s 2013 schedule will be coming off NCAA tournament campaigns.

Of the 14 squads who earned a berth in the field of 64 in ‘13, four hosted regionals and Arkansas and South Carolina both 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 will play a total of 31 games against 2012 NCAA tourney teams this spring.

Redshirt freshman Matt Kent comes to the park ready to pitch every day. The left-hander has appeared in nine of the Aggies’ 13 games on the season. Although he started the season as a situational pitcher, Kent, who has thrown five or less pitches in six of his nine outings, pitched 3.0 scoreless innings as the Aggies clawed back into their game against the Houston Cougars to start the Astros Foundation College Classic.

The Aggies are bouncing back from defeats this season, posting a 4-0 record the game after a loss. The rebound wins include a 4-3 victory over UIC one day after a loss (0-2) against the Flames, a 3-1 victory over Pepperdine one day after a loss (3-5) against the Waves, a 9-5 win over Northwestern State two days after a second loss to Pepperdine (1-2) and an 8-3 win over No. 12 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic one day after falling to Houston (6-7) at Minute Maid Park.

Now the Aggies’ Friday night starter, Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons as a stalwart in the bullpen. He currently ranks sixth on A&M’s career list with 80 appearances. 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 six stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into fourth place on the Aggies career stolen bases charts with 58. He is five steals from 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.

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 122-84-3 (.591) against current members of the SEC, including 3-0 vs. Alabama, 38-29-1 vs. Arkansas, 6-1 vs. Florida, 3-1 vs. Kentucky, 15-12-1 vs. LSU, 4-2 vs. Ole Miss, 8-6 vs. Mississippi State, 44-32-1 vs. Missouri, 0-1 vs. South Carolina, 1-0 vs. Tennessee. With long-time Big 12 companion Missouri out of the equation, A&M enters 2012 campaign with a 78-52-2 (.595) mark against the old guard. Texas A&M has never faced Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt.

The 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament is scheduled for May 21-26 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham.

The tournament, being held in Hoover for the 16th consecutive year, will increase from 10 to 12 teams and will begin on Tuesday, May 21. Seeds 5-12 will meet in a single elimination format on the opening day of the tournament, followed by traditional double-elimination play Wednesday-Friday. The tournament will return to single elimination play on Saturday.

The 12 teams are seeded 1-12 with two divisional champions and top four seeds guaranteed opening-round byes, with the possibility of earning another by later in the bracket. The tournament field will include the top teams from the SEC’s Eastern and Western Divisions plus 10 at-large bids seeded 3-12 based on conference winning percentage.

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 13 different batting orders. Krey Bratsen, Daniel Mengden and Mikey Reynolds are the only three players to start all 13 games and Bratsen and Reynolds are the only two to be in the batting order all 13 games.
The trio of Reynolds, Bratsen and Mengden are also the only three to bat in the same spot in the order more than five times with Reynold leading off all 13 games, Bratsen batting in the No. 2 spot 11 times and Mengden batting third 11 times. The Aggies have had seven different batters hit in the No. 6 hole and seven different batters hit in the No. 9 spot. Blake Allemand has hit in six different spots in the order.

Texas A&M heads to California for a three-game series against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton Titans. The series features night games on Friday (9 pm Central) and Saturday (8 pm Central) and an early afternoon game on Sunday (1:30 pm Central).

Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park (6,100) • College Station, Texas

SCHEDULE - Tuesday, 6:35 PM
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 Dave South, play-by-play
LIVE VIDEO - (with a premium subscription)
RANKINGS - Texas A&M - unranked • Prairie View A&M - unranked
SERIES HISTORY - Texas A&M leads the series 4-0
SERIES STREAKS - Texas A&M has won four straight

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