COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies host the No. 3 LSU Tigers for their final home SEC series of the season. The Aggies enter the series on a four-game win streak, including their three-game sweep of the Missouri Tigers last weekend. The A&M pitching staff has allowed just nine runs over the four-game stretch. LSU leads the SEC Western Division with a 19-5 record and a three-game lead over second-place Arkansas.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (26-22, 10-13 SEC) at LSU TIGERS (43-6, 19-5 SEC)
Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park (6,100) • College Station, Texas
SCHEDULE - Thursday, 8:05 pm • Friday 6:35 pm • Saturday, 12:05 pm
TELEVISION - Thursday - ESPNU • Friday - CSS • Saturday - ESPN
RADIO - WTAW-AM 1620 (Dave South, play-by-play)
LIVE AUDIO - AggieAthletics.com • RadioAggieland.com
LIVE STATS - AggieAthletics.com
RANKINGS - A&M - unranked • LSU - #3 BA, CB & USAT; #4 NCBWA
SERIES HISTORY - Texas A&M leads 15-12-1
SERIES STREAK - LSU has won seven in a row
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
• Thursday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 5-3, 2.10 ERA) vs Cody Glenn (So., LHP, 5-1, 2.93 ERA)
• Friday - Parker Ray (Jr., RHP, 0-1, 1.85 ERA) vs Aaron Nola (So., RHP, 9-0, 1.92 ERA)
• Saturday - Rafael Pineda (Jr., RHP 5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs Ryan Eades (Jr., RHP, 8-1, 2.36 ERA)
WEEKEND SERIES ALL TELEVISED
All three of the Aggies-Tigers series will be televised this weekend. Thursday night’s game will be the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week. Dave Neal will handle the play-by-play and Kyle Peterson will cover the color analysis. Friday’s game will are on Comcast Sports Southeast with Brett Dolan handling the play-by-play and Rod Delmonico on the color call. Saturday’s game will be on ESPN with Neal and Peterson once again covering the action.
HERE COMES THE JESTER, 1-2-3
Jason Jester has been solid as the Aggies’ closer this season, going 12-for-13 in save situations. He is 2-2 with 12 saves and a 2.55 ERA on the season. He has allowed 10 earned runs in 35.1 innings of work over 26 appearances, scattering 23 hits and eight walks while striking out 34. He is holding opponents to a .178 batting average.
In 13 save opportunities, Jester has allowed just one run on 10 hits and three walks while striking out 17 over 20.0 innings. He owns a 0.45 in save situations and holding opponents to a .143 batting average.
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 45 of his 46 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 .371 on the season with a .432 on-base percentage, 28 runs, 10 doubles, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases. The streak included three pinch-hit appearances in three games at Arkansas in which he drew a walk and hit two singles.
MAKING A SACRIFICE
The Aggies are on pace for a school-record sacrifice bunts. With 53 bunts through 48 games, A&M is on pace for 60 sacrifice 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 16 sacrifice bunts. He had 19 as a freshman and eight as a sophomore. He owns the school career record with 43 sacrifice bunts. Charlie Curl has added 10 and Blake Allemand has seven.
Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last 31 games (the Aggies’ last 37 games), Lankford is batting .379 (47-for-124) with 13 multiple hit games, 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 19 RBI. 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.
TEXAS A&M/LSU SERIES NOTABLES
Texas A&M and LSU have met on 28 prior occasions with the Aggies owning a 15-12-1 advantage. LSU has won the last seven meetings, including four games in the NCAA postseason. The last meetings came at the 2004 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional where the Tigers won 11-8 and 4-0. LSU also won 13-8 at the 1993 College World Series and 7-1 at the 1991 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. The teams also met twice at the 1989 NCAA College Station Regional with LSU winning 13-5 and 5-4.
MORE ON LSU
LSU enters the series with a 43-6 overall record and a 19-5 league record. The Tigers own a three-game lead over Arkansas in the SEC Western Division. LSU is hitting .310 as a team with 36 home runs and 44 stolen bases in 49 games.
Alex Bregman leads LSU with a .401 batting average and 50 runs in 49 games. He has 13 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 46 RBI and 12 stolen bases on the season. Mason Katz is hitting .378 with 10 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs and 63 RBI on the year. Christian Ibarra is hitting .363 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 32 RBI.
The Tigers’ pitching staff owns a 2.39 ERA and holding opponents to a .214 batting average. Friday night starter Cody Glenn is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA. Saturday starter Aaron Nola has pitched four consecutive complete games and he’s 9-0 with a 1.92 ERA on the season. Closer Chris Cotton is 2-1 with 10 saves and a 1.82 ERA.
The Tigers have made 15 College World Series appearances, including winning six titles, most recently in 2009.All six national championships have come since the 1991 season. They also won titles in 1993, ‘96, ‘97, 2000 and ‘09.
LSU boasts 68 former players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The group is headlined by five-time Cleveland Indians All-Star Joey ‘Albert’ Belle, the only player in MLB history to log 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season, and 1948 MLB Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star Al Dark.
ALLEMAND GETTING INTO GEAR
After going 0-for-17 in his first six games (the Aggies first eight games), Allemand has batted .300 (42-for-140) with seven doubles, one home run and 19 RBI in the last 40 games. The 22 runs and 19 RBI during the span both 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 34 games is .403 with 17 walks and six 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 .300 40-40 140 22 42 19 .371 20 7 19 .408 5 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 132-97-3 (.575) 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, 15-12-1 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.
NINTH INNING LOCKDOWN
Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in ninth innings of games this season. In 34.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed five runs, four earned, on 24 hits and 11 walks while striking out 28 for a 1.06 ERA and .197 opponent batting average. Jason Jester leads the way with 17.2 scoreless innings, scattering seven hits and four walks while striking out 14. 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 .311 (114-for-367) with 17 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and a .384 on-base percentage. Daniel Mengden has a .577 on-base percentage, going 10-for-21 (.476) with four walks and one hit-by-pitch, one double and two home runs to lead the way. Mikey Reynolds owns a .473 on-base percentage, going 28-for-67 (.418) with five doubles, five walks and two HBP. Cole Lankford owns a .444 on-base percentage leading off innings, going 14-for-34 (.412) with three doubles, one triple, one walk and one HBP.
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 315-175-2 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 1-2 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.
STEIN PICKING UP STEAM
After a bit of a slow start, Troy Stein has hit .330 (30-for-91) in his last 28 games with 19 runs, five doubles, two triples, three home runs and 12 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 (.505) and on-base percentage (.378) over his last 28 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 30 games .330 28-28 103 19 34 12 .505 8 0 20 .378 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 21-8 this season at Blue Bell Park, including a 7-5 mark in SEC action. Three A&M players are hitting over .300 at home, including Mikey Reynolds (.352), Cole Lankford (.337), Daniel Mengden (.315) and Blake Allemand (.311). Daniel Mengden is 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 42.2 innings in his six 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 2-0 with nine saves and 17 strikeouts in 19.2 innings in 15 appearances.
THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTER: #15 DANIEL MENGDEN
Sophomore Daniel Mengden is making his 17th career start, his 13th weekend start and his fifth “Friday Night” start ... He leads the Aggies with five 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 ... Last week, 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 first SEC start, he got no-decision despite holding Georgia to just one run while striking out eight over 8.0 innings ... On the road at 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 ... In his 16 career starts, he is 8-3 with a 1.69 ERA, .201 opponent batting average and 81 strikeouts (17 walks) in 101.0 innings.
FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTER: #54 PARKER RAY
After 33 career appearances, all out of the bullpen, Parker Ray made his first career start two 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 ... 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 ... In three of his last four outings, he’s worked 3.0 or more innings ... 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 ... Against UT Arlington on March 26, he held UT Arlington scoreless over 7.1 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three ... Last week, Pineda started both a Tuesday and Sunday outing earning two wins without yielding an earned run in 11.1 innings ... He spent the entire 2012 season as the Aggies’ Sunday starter, amassing a 5-1 record and 2.71 ERA.
JESTER CLIMBING THE A&M SINGLE-SEASON SAVES LIST
Jason Jester is one save shy of the A&M single-season saves list with 12 on the year. The school’s record is held by Scott Beerer with 13 in 2003.
The Aggies wrap up their 2013 home slate with a 6:35 pm contest against the UT Pan American Broncs on Tuesday, May 14.