COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies wraps up the regular-season with their first-ever trip to Knoxville to battle the Tennessee Volunteers at Lindsey Nelson Staium. Having already sealed a bid to next week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, the Aggies will be looking to cement their seeding. A&M can finish anywhere between 5th and 11th in the SEC standings. The Volunteers are currently in 13th place and need a strong finish to make the 12-team field.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (28-24, 11-15 SEC) at TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (21-28, 7-18 SEC)
Lindsey Nelson Stadium (3,600) • Knoxville, Tennessee
SCHEDULE - Thursday, 5 pm • Friday 5 pm • Saturday, 12 pm
TELEVISION - Saturday – FSN (Dave Neal – play-by-play; Larry Conley – color)
FS Arizona Plus, FS Midwest Plus, FS Oklahoma, FS San Diego, FS Southwest, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, Sun Sports
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
LIVE AUDIO - AggieAthletics.com • RadioAggieland.com
LIVE STATS - AggieAthletics.com
RANKINGS - A&M - unranked • UT - Unranked
SERIES HISTORY - Texas A&M leads 1-0
SERIES STREAK - Texas A&M won the only meeting, 10-1, at the Minute Maid Classic in 2005
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
• Thursday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 6-3, 2.01 ERA) vs Zack Godley (Sr., RHP, 5-6, 3.44 ERA)
• Friday - Parker Ray (Jr., RHP, 0-1, 1.83 ERA) vs Nick Williams (Jr., RHP, 2-4, 5.03 ERA)
• Saturday - Rafael Pineda (Jr., RHP 5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs TBA
HERE COMES THE JESTER, 1-2-3
Jason Jester has been solid as the Aggies’ closer this season, going 13-for-14 in save situations. He is 2-3 with 13 saves and a 2.54 ERA on the season. He has allowed 11 earned runs in 39.0 innings of work over 26 appearances, scattering 26 hits and 10 walks while striking out 35. He is holding opponents to a .183 batting average.
In 14 save opportunities, Jester has allowed just one run on 10 hits and three walks while striking out 18 over 21.0 innings. He owns a 0.43 ERA in save situations and holding opponents to a .138 batting average.
JESTER SETS THE SINGLE-SEASON SAVES LIST
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.
BULLPEN SHAPING UP
The Aggies bullpen has been strong over the last 12 games, posting a 1-1 record with three saves and a 1.82 ERA over 34.2 innings. The relief staff is holding opponents to a .235 batting average and has allowed just four of 23 inherited runners to score over the span.
MELTON HEATING UP
In the last eight games, Hunter Melton is hitting .419 (13-for-31) with five runs, one double, one triple, two home runs and five 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.
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SLG% BB HBP SO OB%
First 44 games .171 14-12 41 4 7 2 0 2 7 .366 7 0 12 .292
Last 8 games .419 8-8 31 5 13 1 1 2 5 .710 1 1 6 .455
REYNOLDS REACHING BASE
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 48 of his 50 games. The streak began with a 22-game hit streak and ended with a 15-game hit streak. He has hit safely in 41 of 46 games. He is hitting .370 on the season with a .433 on-base percentage, 33 runs, 10 doubles, one home run, 21 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The streak included three pinch-hit appearances in three games at Arkansas in which he drew a walk and hit two singles.
REYNOLDS TWO-TIME STREAKER
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 35 games (the Aggies’ last 41 games), Lankford is batting .371 (52-for-140) with 14 multiple hit games, including seven three-hit games. He has 14 doubles, two triples, one home run and 21 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 A&M’s most recent game, he went 3-for-4 with three doubles, two runs and two RBI.
TEXAS A&M/TENNESSEE SERIES NOTABLES
Texas A&M and Tennessee have met on just one prior occasion, with the Aggies winning a 10-1 decision at the Minute Maide College Classic in 2005. The game was the season-opener for Texas A&M.
MORE ON TENNESSEE
Tennessee enters the fray with a 21-28 overall record and finds its SEC Tournament hopes in a precarious position with a 7-18 league mark. The Volunteers find themselves two shy on league games played as the last two games of their series against Georgia were rained out.
The Volunteers are hitting .275 as a team with a .360 slugging percentage and a .364 on-base percentage. Sctt Price leads the squad with a .349 batting average and has 22 runs, 10 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 23 RBI in 42 games. The offense revolves around Will Maddox who has team-highs with 40 runs, a .428 on-base percentage and 19 stolen bases. Maddox is batting .338 with eight doubles, two triples, 20 RBI, 12 HBP. Tennessee has struggled to find power with just 13 home runs on the season, but Ethan Bennett is the top power guy with a .634 slugging percentage, nine doubles, two triples and three home runs in just 29 games.
Tennessee has lost most of their games on the pitching end of the spectrum with a 5.35 team ERA and .286 opponent batting average. Senior Zack Godley is 5-6 with a 3.44 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 99.1 innings. All other pitchers with more than one start own ERAs of 5.00 or higher.
The Volunteers have made four College World Series appearances, including 1951, 1995, 2001 and 2005. Tennessee has played in the NCAA Championship on nine occasions but are currently in the midst of a seven-year drought with the most recent appearance coming in 2005.
Tennessee boasts 42 former players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The group is headlined by six-time MLB All-Star and three-time 20-game winner Tommy Bridges, six-time MLB All-Star Ed Bailey and five-time MLB All-Star and 2000 NL batting champion Todd Helton. Other notables include 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey and three-time MLB All-Star and former Brewers, Tigers and Astros manager Phil Garner.
ALLEMAND GETTING INTO GEAR
After going 0-for-17 in his first six games (the Aggies first eight games), Allemand has batted .292 (45-for-154) with eight doubles, one home run and 21 RBI in the last 44 games. He and Krey Bratsen are the only two players to play in every game over the 44-game span. The 21 RBI during the span leads the team and the 23 runs ranks second. Even when he wasn’t hitting, Allemand was able to get on-base enough to score five runs in the first six games, drawing five walks and getting hit by two pitches for a .292 on-base percentage. His on-base percentage the last 40 games is .400 with 22 walks and seven HBP.
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H RBI SLG% BB HBP SO OB% SH SB-ATT
First 8 games .000 6- 6 17 5 0 0 .000 5 2 7 .292 2 3-3
Last 40 games .292 44-44 154 23 45 21 .364 22 7 21 .400 6 12-18
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 133-99-3 (.572) against current members of the SEC, including 3-2 vs Alabama, 39-31-1 vs Arkansas, 1-2 vs Auburn, 6-1 vs Florida, 3-0 vs Georgia, 3-1 vs Kentucky, 16-14-1 vs LSU, 6-3 vs Ole Miss, 8-9 vs Mississippi State, 47-32-1 vs Missouri, 0-4 vs South Carolina, 1-0 vs Tennessee. 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.
Mitchell Nau has four plate appearances with bases load this season. The sophomore has gone 4-for-4 with bases loaded with six 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.
NINTH INNING LOCKDOWN
Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in the ninth innings of games this season. In 36.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed five runs, four earned, on 26 hits and 11 walks while striking out 29 for a 1.00 ERA and .202 opponent batting average. Jason Jester leads the way with 18.2 scoreless innings, scattering seven hits and four walks while striking out 15. Parker Ray has worked 3.0 scoreless frames, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out one.
SETTING THE TABLE
Batters leading off an inning are hitting .312 (124-for-397) with 19 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and a .384 on-base percentage. Daniel Mengden has a .586 on-base percentage, going 12-for-24 (.4500) with four walks, one hit-by-pitch, two doubles and three home runs to lead the way. Mikey Reynolds owns a .481 on-base percentage, going 30-for-72 (.417) with five doubles, five walks and three HBP. Cole Lankford owns a .421 on-base percentage leading off innings, going 14-for-36 (.389) with three doubles, one triple, one walk and one HBP.
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.
CHILDRESS EARNS WIN NUMBER 300
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 317-177-2 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 2-2 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.
Troy Stein owns a considerably higher batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage in road games as compared to home games. In 16 road games, Stein is batting .362 (21-for-58) on the road, 69 points higher than his home batting average.
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H RBI SLG% BB HBP SO OB% SH SB-ATT
16 road games .362 16-15 58 11 21 5 .569 5 1 15 .422 0 2-2
26 home games .293 28-27 99 11 29 11 .404 6 1 14 .336 2 1-1
STEIN PICKING UP STEAM
After a bit of a slow start, Troy Stein has hit .336 (39-for-116) in his last 32 games with 19 runs, six doubles, two triples, three home runs and 15 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 (.500) and on-base percentage (.391) over his last 32 games is vastly improved over the numbers he put up in his first 15 games (.360 and .315, respectively).
Player AVG GP-GS AB R H RBI SLG% BB HBP SO OB% SH SB-ATT
First 18 games .260 15-13 50 4 13 3 .360 2 2 12 .315 1 1-1
Last 34 games .336 32-32 116 19 39 15 .500 10 1 21 .391 1 2-2
MARTIN CLIMBING CAREER PITCHING APPERANCES CHART
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 92 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.
BRATSEN CLIMBING CAREER STOLEN BASES CHART
With 15 stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into third place on the Aggie career stolen base charts with 67. 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.
PROTECT THE HOMEFRONT
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.
THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTER: #15 DANIEL MENGDEN
Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his 18th career start, his 14th weekend start and his seventh “Friday Night” start ... He was tabbed the SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week last week, 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 six 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 ... Two weekends ago, he snapped out of the funk with a career-high 10 strikeouts in 8.0 innings in a 2-1 win over Missouri ... In his third outing of the year, 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 ... In his 17 career starts, he is 9-3 with a 1.71 ERA, .192 opponent batting average and 92 strikeouts (19 walks) in 126.0 innings.
FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTER: #54 PARKER RAY
After 33 career appearances, all out of the bullpen, Parker Ray made his first career start three weekends ago ... Despite getting saddled with the loss, he worked 7.2 innings in his first career start, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four at Alabama ... The last two weekends he was left with no decision, despite strong performances against Missouri and No. 3 LSU ... He held LSU to just one run over 5.1 innings ... Ray didn’t allowed a run in his last six relief appearances, covering 14.1 innings, scattering nine hits and two walks while striking out eight ... At Arkansas he scattered three hits while fanning two over 3.1 innings ... Against Texas State, Ray pitched 3.2 shutout innings, scattering three hits and one walk while striking out four.
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTER: #55 RAFAEL PINEDA
Rafael Pineda is making his 27th career start ... The first 20 starts, and 23 overall, were “Sunday” starts coming at the tail end of series ... After back-to-back starts, against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, in which he didn’t record an out, Pineda was removed from the weekend rotation, but returned for the Auburn series ... He worked his way back into the weekend rotation after two midweek starts in which he did not allow an earned run in 11.1 innings of work ... Two weeks ago, Pineda started both a Tuesday and Sunday outing earning two wins without yielding an earned run in 11.1 innings, but he missed last weekend’s start with tightness ... He spent the entire 2012 season as the Aggies’ Sunday starter, amassing a 5-1 record and 2.71 ERA.