Long Beach came into this weekend already having played one of the toughest schedules in the entire country to start the season. So while they owned a meager 5-8 record, they still represented the toughest test of the young season for Texas A&M. After all, the Dirtbags hosted and won a regional in 2017, and they were a win away against arch rival Cal State Fullerton from Omaha. Needless to say, after drubbing The Beach by a combined 27-3 this weekend, the Aggies passed this test with flying colors.
Despite all of the offense on display by the boys in maroon and white/red, white, and blue, this series saw some of the better pitching performances out of the A&M pitching staff. Each of LBSU’s three runs were scored off of starting pitchers, and only one of them was earned. That sole earned run came with one out in the top of the first inning on Friday night. For those counting at home, yes, that means the A&M pitching staff did not allow an earned run for the remaining 26.2 innings. It’s worth noting that calling the Dirtbags’ offense anemic might be putting it lightly. Still, it’s pretty crazy to think that defensive miscues were the only things standing in the way of 26.2 scoreless innings. Outstanding effort shown by the Aggies on the mound this weekend.
- The Beach got the scoring started with a one-out RBI single in the first, but from there Stephen Kolek was excellent. He finished the evening with 7.1 innings of work, allowing just the one run on five hits and two walks, while striking out three. He also did all of that on just 82 pitches.
- Long Beach’s starter held A&M scoreless until the seventh, when Michael F. Helman doubled home George Janca to tie the game at one. Braden Shewmake followed up with an RBI single to right to give A&M its first lead of the weekend. Logan Foster capped off the scoring of the evening in the eighth with a solo shot to left center.
- The headline on the official recap on 12thman dot com (linked above) probably tells you all you need to know about the Saturday matchup. 19 runs on 17 hits and 10 walks to just six strikeouts. Seven of the nine starters tallied at least one hit. They registered seven extra-base hits, including three bombs. They batted around in the seventh before recording an out, scoring nine runs. This game was just stupid for the Aggie offense.
- Logan Foster led the charge. He went 3 for 4 on the day, with a walk, two homers, and seven RBIs. His three-run job in the third put A&M up 5-1. In the crazy nine-run seventh, he hit a grand slam to extend the lead to 16-1. Foster has been on fire for a while now, which is something he showed flashes of at the beginning of last year. His improved approach at the plate is really, really paying off so far.
- Mitchell Kilkenny continued doing Mitchell Kilkenny things on Sunday. In his eight innings of work, he allowed just one unearned run on five hits and two walks, striking out seven. His ERA is down to a measly 1.30, his WHIP sits at .723, and he now leads the team in strikeouts with 29. Having this guy pitching on Sundays is just not fair.
- All of A&M’s scoring in this one game in the first two innings. A Chris Andritsos sacrifice fly scored Michael F. Helman in the first inning for the first run of the game. Then in the second, Long Beach started throwing the ball around the yard. A&M scored four in the second (all unearned) to give A&M a 5-0 advantage, which was all Kilkenny would need.
A&M will play host to UT-Arlington tomorrow night. The Mavericks took down the Aggies 3-2 when these two met last season, but they are just 4-9 so far in 2018. This past weekend, they were swept at the hands of Wichita State up in Kansas. First pitch is scheduled at 6:32 pm. See y’all at Olsen!