The Ags are off to another great start to the young season by winning 12 of their 13 games behind another potent offense and one of, if not the deepest pitching staff Rob Childress has had here at A&M. This weekend, they will face their toughest challenge to date, which should also show us just how ready the Ags are for the SEC gauntlet. This past Tuesday, the maroon and white escaped against a spunky Northwestern St team, 7-6, but like most midweek games against lesser competition, they saw some of the Demons' better arms, as Northwestern St looked to snag some huge RPI points by knocking off A&M.
Although they've dropped their two most recent contests, Fresno State comes to Olsen this weekend absolutely on fire. The Bulldogs are 11-2 on the year, with a team ERA of 1.78. That being said, as has been the case for all of A&M's opponents this season, they haven't faced a team nearly as good as the Aggies. The maroon and white rank second in the country in batting average (.353), 13th in runs per game (9.0) and seventh in slugging percentage (.534). The best hitting team that the Bulldogs have faced so far this season was San Diego St. last weekend, who rank 171st (.260). However, there's something to be said about a pitching staff that has allowed only 17 extra base hits, including only one home run this year. This should prove to be a very good series between two very good pitching staffs.
Friday, 6:30 pm
Jace Vines (2-0, 2.25) vs. Ricky Tyler Thomas (2-0, 1.56)
Vines made his weekend debut last Friday against Yale, and did not disappoint. While his final line doesn't seem like he had his best outing of the year, it doesn't tell the whole story. He was tagged for three earned runs, that much is true, but the main story of Vines' start was that he took a no-hitter into his last inning of work. His WHIP on the season is still ridiculously low at 0.4375.
Last weekend, Thomas threw 5.1 innings of two-run baseball, while giving up a season-high nine hits. The sophomore sports a microscopic 1.56 ERA and a 1.038 WHIP in 17.1 innings, and opponents are hitting a mere .206 against the lefty. At the very least, the fact that the Bulldogs' Friday night starter has the highest ERA and WHIP in the weekend rotation further proves just how good this pitching staff has been this season.
Saturday, 2:00 pm
Tyler Ivey (2-0, 0.00) vs. Jimmy Lambert (3-0, 0.40)
Ivey comes into his fourth start of the year riding a 16.1 scoreless inning streak. At his best this season, Ivey has been absolutely dominant, and 12 of his 16.1 innings pitched this season, he's been just that. Last weekend against Yale, he struggled for the first time in an Aggie uniform, while pitching on short rest. He allowed four hits and walked five in 4.1 innings. With the way his counterpart has been pitching for the Bulldogs, Ivey will most likely need to bring his A game.
Lambert has been absolutely pitching his ass off this season, and that has led to him winning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week in consecutive weeks. Last week, Lambert allowed just five hits, one unearned run and struck out nine against San Diego St in seven innings. This guy is having quite the season so far, and he will look to build off of that this weekend.
Sunday, 1:00 pm
Kyle Simonds (2-0, 1.69) vs. Anthony Arias (2-0, 0.98)
Simonds has been rock solid so far this season, having only a few innings where he's run into trouble. Last weekend against Yale, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. It wasn't his strongest start, but he kept the Yale bats at bay, while the Aggies' bats got going. Everyone saw his seven shutout innings at Pepperdine and what he can do out there on the mound.
As is the case with the other two Bulldogs starters, Arias is having quite the year on the mound. The sophomore lefty gave up his first runs of the season last weekend in six quality innings, while allowing eight hits, walking one and striking out four. Not many teams in the country can boast a Sunday starter that sports an ERA like Arias, and it further proves that the Ags are facing a much better rotation than they have to this point.
How to Watch/Listen
TV: All three games will be available via SEC Network+
Radio: 1150 AM, 102.7 FM
Other Audio: radioaggieland.com, 12thman.com
EDIT: I'm stupid and put down Sunday's game as 12:00, but it's actually at 1:00 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯