The Aggies started the week on a good note by winning their first midweek game of 2013, knocking off Stephen F. Austin by a final score of 9-2. Starting pitcher Corey Ray did not start the night well, though, as the 1st inning was far from pretty and could have been much worse. Ray allowed a leadoff double, threw 2 wild pitches, issued a walk, hit a batter, and committed an error on a pickoff attempt. Despite all of that, Corey managed to only give up 1 run to the Lumberjacks in the 1st. After another walk to start the 2nd inning, Ray really settled into the game and got into quite the groove by retiring the next 11 batters he faced with 6 of them coming on strikeouts. Corey's final line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 8 K and a 0.94 WHIP. I was very impressed by Ray's ability to settle down and command the strike zone despite such a rocky start to the game.
On the offensive side of things, the Aggies continued to show signs of progress by finishing the evening with 9 runs scored (6 earned) on 12 hits. It's worth noting that 11 of those 12 were singles, with the lone double coming from Charlie Curl, and against better teams 11 singles will not always result in 9 runs. It was a nearly perfect night offensively for SS Mikey Reynolds, going 4-5 (and the one time he was retired came on a called strike 3 that was probably closer to the Lumberjacks dugout than it was the strike zone) with 2 RBI and 3 stolen bases. We talked leading into the season about Mikey's importance to the A&M offense hitting at the top of the lineup, and if he continues to hit like this things will only get better for the Aggies. Reynolds' ability to steal bases can also be extremely valuable for Coach Sawyers' offense and help put pressure on the opposing team's defense.
Wednesday brought Texas Southern to Olsen Field for the first time since 2007, and the Aggies took care of business again by knocking off the Tigers 7-1. This time it was freshman Grayson Long, making his first ever start in the maroon and white, who would have a strong performance on the mound for the Aggies. Unlike Corey Ray on Tuesday, Long did not have any issues in the early innings of this game. Grayson allowed a single in the 1st inning before picking off that runner and then went on to not allow a single baserunner to the Tigers until there was 1 out in the 5th inning. The final line for Long was 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K and a 0.88 WHIP.
True freshman Jonathan Moroney came up big at the plate for the Aggies in this victory, going 2-4 on the night with a triple and 3 RBI. A&M actually recorded 2 triples on the evening, as Cole Lankford had a stand up 3-bagger into the RF corner after a 9 pitch at-bat that got the Aggies' offense started in the 2nd inning. Mikey Reynolds simply continues to find ways to get on base at the top of the A&M order, going 1-3 in this game but drawing 2 walks and stealing another base. Krey Bratsen and Daniel Mengden each recorded an hit and an RBI for the Aggies, as the Tigers never really had a chance in this one.
Up Next: Pepperdine (4-1) at Texas A&M (4-1)
Scott Frazier (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 K, 0.43 WHIP) vs Kyle Martin (0-1, 0.00 ERA, 10 K, 0.75 WHIP)
Corey Miller (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 8 K, 0.83 WHIP) vs Daniel Mengden (1-0, 1.59 ERA, 2 K, 0.71 WHIP)
Aaron Brown (0-0, 3.18 ERA, 5 K, 1.35 WHIP) vs Rafael Pineda (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 5 K, 1.33 WHIP)
Scouting the Waves
The schedule for your Texas Aggie Baseball team gets much more difficult in a hurry, and it starts this weekend as the Pepperdine Waves make the trip to Aggieland. The Aggies and Waves squared off in beautiful Malibu, CA last year (if you ever get a chance to catch a game out there, do it. Incredible views.), with A&M sweeping the 3-game series from Pepperdine. The Waves come to College Station looking to exact some revenge, and they started the season with a 4-game sweep of Central Michigan before dropping a midweek game to Top 20 Cal State Fullerton, who the Aggies will travel to face in a few weeks.
Pepperdine features a very strong pitching rotation, starting with ace Scott Frazier who will square off with Kyle Martin in what should be a great Friday night matchup. Frazier struggled a bit to start his sophomore season in 2012, including giving up 11 hits and 6 earned runs in 5.2 innings against A&M, but greatly improved throughout the year and through the offseason. Frazier is listed as 6'7, 230lbs and will feature a fastball that hits 95mph along with a good changeup and a developing curveball. He is ranked as one of the Top 100 prospects for the 2013 MLB Draft by Perfect Game.
Junior Corey Miller will get the ball for the Waves on Saturday and comes off a nice performance to start his 2013 season on the mound. Miller picked up the win over Central Michigan while allowing just 1 earned run in 6 innings while striking out 8 batters. Miller did walk a batter, hit 2 more, and throw a wild pitch in that game though, so his control is something to keep an eye on. Miller did have a solid season for Pepperdine in 2012, going 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 67 K in 101 innings of work. The rotation rounds out with sophomore Aaron Brown, who saw limited action as a pitcher for Pepperdine due to injury but was a regular contributor as an outfielder. Brown did not record a decision in his first start of the season last weekend and struggled to find the strike zone at times, issuing 4 walks, although he did strike out 5 batters while allowing 2 earned runs in 5.2 innings. Brown is a guy who has good stuff and can be dangerous if he is able to stay in the strike zone.
The Waves are somewhat similar to A&M in that their offense is their biggest question mark, as Pepperdine returns just 2 of their top 6 hitters from their 2012 squad. Leading the way is 3B Austin Davidson, who hit .277 in 2012 and is off to a .429 start with a pair of 2B and RBI in 2013, and 1B Sam Meyer, who featured a .276 average last year and has been quite productive to start 2013 by hitting .421 with 4 2B, a HR, and 8 RBI. One last note - the Waves have stolen just 2 bases on 2 attempts and have allowed their opponents to steal 3 bases on all 3 attempts, so look for the Aggies to challenge catcher Nate Johnson on the base paths.
2B Hutton Moyer (.273, 1 2B, 4 R, .678 OPS)
3B Austin Davidson (.429, 2 2B, 5 R, 2 RBI, 1.024 OPS)
1B Sam Meyer (.421, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 R, 8 RBI, 1.289 OPS)
LF Chris Amezquita (.350, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 R, 4 RBI, 1.035 OPS)
C Nate Johnson (.286, 3 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, .875 OPS)
RF Bryan Langlois (.250, 3 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI, .650 OPS)
DH David Oppenheim (.333, 3 R, 2 RBI, .871 OPS)
SS Cody Nulph (.308, 1 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI, .856)
CF Ranny Lowe (.400, 2 2B, 3 R, 7 RBI, .900 OPS)
This will not be an easy series for A&M to win, especially if the hitting has not made major strides from last weekend. There were certainly a fair share of positive signs in 2 midweek wins, but the talent gap between Stephen F. Austin and Texas Southern compared to Pepperdine is fairly large. A major key for this series will be the Aggies' ability to be patient at the plate and get runners on base by whatever means necessary against Pepperdine's quality pitchers.
I'm still optimistic about this team, though - I think the hitting does enough and the pitching continues to be a strong point, so I'm going with the Aggies taking 2 of 3 games from the Waves this weekend.
See you at Olsen and BTHO Pepperdine!