COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park and Baylor Ballpark will be the venues for one of college baseball’s most important series this weekend as the No. 2 Texas A&M baseball team will face Big 12-leading No. 6 Baylor in a three-game series.
Game one of the series will take place in College Station beginning at 6:35 p.m. before the series moves up Highway 6 to Waco, Texas, for games two and three, which are slated to start at 6:35 p.m. and 2:05 p.m., respectively.
Baylor (32-7; 15-0 Big 12) enters the weekend as the country’s hottest team as the Bears have surged to the top of the Big 12 standings while riding a school-record 21-game winning streak. The Aggies, meanwhile, enter the series with a 28-9 overall record while sharing the second spot in the league standings with Texas, which also holds a 9-3 Big 12 mark.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY (APRIL 20) – COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – 6:35 p.m.
Texas A&M - #38 Michael Wacha (Jr., RHP, 5-0, 2.42)
Baylor - #32 Josh Turley (Jr., LHP, 5-0, 2.02)
SATURDAY (APRIL 21) – WACO, TEXAS – 6:35 p.m.
Texas A&M - #36 Ross Stripling (Sr., RHP, 6-1, 2.82)
Baylor - #22 Trent Blank (Sr., RHP, 8-0, 2.48)
SUNDAY (APRIL 22) – WACO, TEXAS – 2:05 p.m.
Texas A&M - #55 Rafael Pineda (R-So., RHP, 5-1, 2.32)
Baylor - TBA
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
• RADIO — Fans can listen locally on WTAW-AM 1620 ... Dave South (play-by-play), along with selected color commentators, will call the action ... pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
• INTERNET — aggieathletics.com will offer live play-by-play and statistics ... fans can watch Friday’s game free of charge on aggieathletics.com.
• MOBILE PHONE — listen to the game on your iPhone, Blackberry or PDA free of charge ... log on to radioaggieland.com for more information.
BAYLOR SEASON STATS
TEXAS A&M SEASON STATS
A&M/BAYLOR SERIES NOTABLES
The Bears are one of the Aggies’ oldest rivals with the two schools having first faced off on the baseball diamond in 1904. Texas A&M holds a 180-131-4 advantage in the all-time series which has featured at least one game between the schools continuously since 1946.
Since the former Southwest Conference rivals joined the Big 12, the series has been tightly contested with the two schools tied at 25-25 since 1997. The Aggies, however, have won 13 of their last 18 meetings with Baylor.
NOTES & TRENDS
• After playing sparingly as a freshman last season, catcher Troy Stein has emerged as a leader for the Aggies, both in the field and at the plate. The Castroville, Texas, native is hitting .313 for the season with six extra base hits and 17 RBI while leading the Aggies during Big 12 play with a .357 average at the plate. Stein has hit safely in nine of his last 11 games, while behind the plate he’s thrown out 16 of 26 would-be base stealers on the year.
• The Aggies are one of the most aggressive teams on the base paths and enter the weekend ranked fourth in the country in team stolen bases with 87. Texas A&M features five players who have swiped at least 10 bags this season, led by sophomore Krey Bratsen with 16.
• Since moving up to the No. 2 spot in the order on March 17, Bratsen has stepped up his production at the plate. The Bryan, Texas, native has reached base in 19 consecutive games, the team’s longest active streak.
• Saturday’s scheduled starter Ross Stripling continues to leave his mark as one of the most successful pitchers in school history, climbing both the Texas A&M and Big 12 all-time wins list. The right-hander captured his 27th win last weekend at Kansas to move into a tie with Casey Fossum (1997-99) for fifth most in school history. Up next on the list is former Aggie great Ryan Rupe, who won 30 games for the Aggies from 1994-98. Stripling also ranks among the most proficient winners in Big 12 history, sitting in seventh place all-time with Fossum, Jason Jennings of Baylor (1997-99) and Texas’ Adrian Alaniz (2005-07).
• Fellow starting pitcher Michael Wacha is also etching his name into the Aggie record books, as he won his 23rd career game last weekend to break into the Texas A&M career top 10. He enters the Baylor series sharing the No. 10 spot with Chris Russ (1998-01) and Ronnie Allen (1989-91).
• Wacha also became the Aggies’ third Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honoree on Monday, earning the accolade after throwing his second complete game shutout of the year last weekend at Kansas.
• Aggie right fielder Tyler Naquin remains the Big 12’s lone .400 hitter as he enters the weekend with a .403 (58-for-144) clip at the plate.
• Texas A&M is in a key portion of its schedule that began with Tuesday’s contest against Rice. The Aggies are in a stretch during which they face ranked teams (Baseball America poll on April 16 - #7 Rice, #6 Baylor, #23 Texas and #24 Sam Houston State) in eight of nine games. The lone unranked team during the stretch is TCU, which was a NCAA Regional host a year ago.
Following the Baylor series, the Aggies will hit the road for Fort Worth, Texas, where they will battle TCU in a Tuesday night contest at Lupton Stadium. Next weekend, Texas A&M will square off against arch-rival Texas in a three-game series that will feature Friday night’s game in College Station before Saturday and Sunday’s contests take place at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
Free Giveaway Friday - First 250 fans will receive a Blue Bell Park Coffee Cup. Diamond Darlings will pass these out on the concourse and also near the suite entrances downstairs.