On a weekend where the starting rotation threw for a combined 6.1 innings, the pitching staff as a whole issued 24 free passes and the offense wasn't able to get going outside of the top four hitters in the lineup, it would be tough to compete at a very medium level, let alone a high one. That especially can't happen to the best team in the country on the road. I mean, that can't happen ever, but it really can't happen on the road if you expect to win at all.
Truth be told there weren't many people around the country who expected the Ags to take the series, but if they were at all deserving of their No. 1 ranking they had at the time, the three games would be close and competitive. Until they weren't. And you have to give a lot of credit to Florida. I think Coach Childress put it best this morning on the Louie Belina Show, when he said that Florida were "the aggressors all weekend." There were only two or three times this weekend where the Ags took it to the Gators, and none of those came on the mound.
Here are some grades from what I saw this weekend:
Starting Pitching: F
There's really no other grade you can get when you combine for 6.1 innings. The Aggies' starting rotation has been pretty up-and-down all season, but this weekend was unfathomably bad. Yes, they were without their usual Friday night starter, Jace Vines, until Sunday because of an illness, so the rotation had to be shaken up a bit. But in those 6.1 innings, the starters gave up 11 earned runs. Eleven. They also issued six walks and allowed 14 hits. That's just not acceptable.
Honestly, the only reason I didn't give the bullpen an F as well was because they were forced to throw an ungodly number of innings due to such an impotent showing by the starting rotation, and that's not fair. But they still gave up 12 earned runs on the weekend of their own. Even on the day where the Aggie bats were awake and had scored seven runs, the bullpen blew one of A&M's few leads on the weekend. And that was at the hands of closer Ryan Hendrix.
Top Four of the Batting Order: A-
An A? What? Yeah, I was a little surprised, too. But J.B. Moss, Ryne Birk, Boomer White and Hunter Melton hit really, really well as a group this weekend. Moss, Birk and Melton each had a home run, and White went 8-12 (.667). Unfortunately due to the meltdown of the pitching staff, the production the Ags got from these four was essentially inconsequential.
Rest of the Order: F
Nick Banks is broken again (two hits). Michael Barash didn't have a good weekend (only one hit and one walk). Then you get two total hits from the DH spot, one hit from SS and one from Choruby in center. Any rally that the top four hitters started was almost immediately squashed. When one hitter in the lineup (White) outperforms eight other players that all got multiple at bats throughout the weekend, you're not hitting very well. Not a good showing by the bottom five in the batting order.
Tomorrow the Aggies travel to Houston to take on the Rice Owls. In an interesting development, Tyler Ivey will get the start. After such a poor showing in Gainesville this weekend, the maroon and white need this game in the worst way.